An agreement appears to be close between the state Legislature and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer following a two-month impasse over the budget for the fiscal year that began October 1st.
Both the House and Senate took initial action on supplemental budget bills this week that would restore funding vetoed by Governor Whitmer last September.
Whitmer made massive cuts to the tune of $947 (m) million and transfers to the budget after it was passed by the Republican-led Legislature without her input. The Legislature has restored 27 of 147 line-item vetoes. It includes proposed funding for PFAS contamination at airports, veterans services, autism programs, hospitals and isolated school districts among other items. Two local lawmakers are voicing support for the changes that would fund key priorities to protect education, public safety, and public health.
Republican State Representative Mike Mueller of Linden is a former Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputy. He’s pleased the Legislature and Governor are moving forward toward restoring some of the budget cuts. Mueller says they came together as a legislature, both Republicans and Democrats, and made it happen and didn’t use politics in lieu of public safety. He says they restored secondary road patrols to the full funding as well as county jail reimbursements, which would help county sheriff’s run jails and provide public safety to the community.
A measure sponsored by Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township was also incorporated into the House-approved plan. It would restore $600,000 to form a grant program to help community organizations establish or expand support services for people seeking long-term recovery from substance use disorders. Bollin says she’s heard from many people in the community who are directly affected by the governor’s cuts and she’s listened to their concerns – adding it’s time to put the 2019 budget behind them and move forward.
The measures approved by the House now advance to the Senate for further consideration. Negotiations are continuing but it’s possible the budget could be finalized next week. (JM)