Senate plan cuts Benson budget to fund redistricting panel

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan Senate is proposing to cut spending in Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office to fund a new redistricting commission authorized by voters.

The Senate budget, which won initial approval from a panel Wednesday, includes $4.6 million to create the independent commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts after the 2020 Census. To fund the commission, however, Republicans propose a corresponding 32 percent cut for Benson’s executive operations, branch operations and other budget areas.

Overall spending in the department would rise more than 1 percent. That’s less than what Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed.

The Senate also proposes reductions in Democratic Attorney General Nessel’s office and a smaller funding boost for universities and community colleges than Whitmer wants. Republicans say freed-up money can be directed to other priorities like roads.

The House is waiting to release its budget plan.

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