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Governor blames republicans for slow budget negotiations

Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 06:55:32-04

LANSING, Mich. — Boots to the ground. Governor Whitmer says she’s not giving up on her proposed budget. $2.5 billion is the magic number and she says Republicans are the roadblock standing in the way.

“Stop screwing around and get it done,” said Whitmer at a press conference on Wednesday.

Whitmer sent a message to Republicans and vowed not to sign a budget that doesn't include a serious plan to fix the state's roads. The clock is ticking and she says Republicans have not given her a comprehensive plan.

“$2.5 billion is what study after study has said, is really the number and I know that if we don’t make a meaningful change in the trajectory right now, that it will be $3.5 billion in just three years,” said Whitmer.

But House Speaker Lee Chatfield tells FOX 47 News it’s the governor holding up the budget process.

“I think the governor needs to stop holding the budget process hostage,” said Chatfield. “We’ve worked for months on this governor on how we can meet her in the middle and ensure our roads get fixed but she is insistent on her 45 cents per gallon gas tax.”

Chatfield’s office says the governor met with Republican leadership this morning around nine and still no deal has been made.

“We presented her with a lot of different options,” said Gideon D'Assandro, the House Speaker’s spokesperson.

Now, the five-week countdown is on. The state budget office has directed agencies to prepare for a government shutdown if a deal isn't made by the October first deadline.

“I’m not going to negotiate with myself,” said Whitmer explaining why a deal hasn’t been made. “I put a plan on the table. What I’ve said is that someone who’s got an idea a plan that gets us toward the goal significantly toward the goal. I will start to engage in a conversation with them and negotiation with them. So far we have seen nothing of that sort.”

There’s dialogue. But a deal is something neither side appears to be budging on.

“The people of our state do not support a 45 cent gas tax plan, because of that, we do not support a 45 cent gas tax plan,” said Chatfield.

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