News Story

Whitmer misleads on $400 auto insurance refunds

Whitmer both takes and disavows credit for refunds from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association

Should Gov. Gretchen Whitmer be credited with the $400-per-vehicle refund checks Michigan residents received this year, by way of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association?

It depends. Whitmer herself has taken both the “yes” and the “no” position.

Last year, when the checks were announced, Whitmers’ allies blasted out ads, spreading the message far and wide, that the governor deserved credit for the refund.

“I got insurance companies to send refund checks directly back to you,” Whitmer said in the 30-second spots, which aired during college football bowl season.

But on the debate stage Tuesday night, Republican challenger Tudor Dixon challenged the timing of the refund checks and noted the higher auto insurance bills that followed. Whitmer then claimed to be powerless.

Video of the debate is online. Start at about 42:30 for the relevant exchange. Watch for about three minutes.

“Sometimes, legislation has unintended consequences,” Dixon said. “The governor knew that there was going to be a lawsuit when she decided to give away a catastrophic injury fund and give $400 checks back to everybody in Michigan.”

Dixon added: “Now that the lawsuit has gone through, you’re going to get a bill for $48, because she gave you those checks just a little too soon.”

Whitmer struck back.

After calling Dixon ill-prepared, Whitmer said: “The governor doesn't decide for the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association what the checks are going to be.”

Does Whitmer deserve credit for the $400 refund, or not? 

Whitmer has struggled to get her story straight lately. A recent claim, that Michigan had “created 30,000 auto jobs” since she took office, was 25,000 jobs off.

And while recent TV ads tout Whitmer signing 800 bipartisan bills since taking office, earlier claims used the number 900. The actual figure, 975, is closer to 1,000.

One can forgive that confusion, given the fast pace of Lansing lawmaking. The 800-law mark was only crossed in March. The 900th was signed in June.

As of Oct. 24, Whitmer has signed 975 laws as governor, per Public Acts Tables compiled by Michigan’s Legislative Council.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.