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WKAR News

Gov. Whitmer signs $140 million unemployment spending bill

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A new bill signed by the Governor Gretchen Whitmer last week and filed with the secretary of state Monday puts about $140 million into Michigan’s unemployment system.

The new law puts $100 million of federal coronavirus relief money toward the state’s Unemployment Compensation Fund to pay for future claims.

“This fiscally-responsible, bipartisan bill will lower costs for small businesses and fight waste, fraud, and abuse in our unemployment system,” Whitmer said in a press release.

Another chunk of spending is for customer service improvements at the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

The UIA is also getting money for up to 52 temporary employees to help with fraud enforcement. About $4 million sent to the Department of Attorney General will also help pay for staff to prosecute fraud claims through the end of fiscal year 2026.

Fraud had been a major concern for Republican lawmakers after reports the state may have paid upwards of $8 billion in fraudulent claims over the course of the pandemic.

“This is the latest step we are taking to fight fraud, hold people accountable, and strengthen the Unemployment Insurance Agency after decades of disinvestment,” Whitmer said in the release.

The plan is the second part of a spending agreement Whitmer and the Legislature reached just before lawmakers went on break last month.

She signed the first part of that agreement, a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure bill, in late March.

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