Governor & Republican Leaders Remain At Budget Impasse

A local lawmaker says work on the state’s 2020 budget continues at the Capitol this week.

Republicans have begun advancing their proposed budget without a deal with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, after the sides agreed to table talks on a road-funding plan. The new fiscal year begins October 1st. State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and said she is working on a budget that spends taxpayer money in a smart way, adding she wants the spending plan to reflect Livingston County priorities – specifically referencing better roads, better schools and better water.

Governor Whitmer wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield Tuesday saying they should pass spending measures before a GOP “getaway” on Mackinac Island starting Friday – adding over the summer, lawmakers took a two-month-long vacation instead of coming to the table to negotiate a budget. Whitmer said budgets should ideally be presented to her two weeks before the end of the fiscal year so she has time to review it and time is of the essence.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield spoke with reporters on the House floor prior to Tuesday’s session about budget negotiations. Chatfield says he has reached out to the Governor several times to continue talks over the 2020 state budget and is hopeful he’ll get a positive response. Chatfield says they’re willing to negotiate to and everyone should be sitting down at a table until an agreement is reached to avoid any potential government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has stated that Whitmer will know all the details Thursday when more committees vote but senators will wait until next Tuesday to take final action. Meanwhile, the state has notified thousands of employees they could soon get layoff notices unless the Governor and Republican leaders resolve the budget standoff. About 48,000 people have been notified of potential layoffs. The first round of layoffs would likely involve closing down state parks, Secretary of State branch offices and the Michigan Lottery. Public health and safety employees would be expected to show up for work, such as state police troopers, corrections officers and child welfare workers. (JM)

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