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No budget deal Thursday, but progress appears to be made

Posted at 8:15 PM, Oct 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 20:57:46-04

LANSING, Mich. — A budget deal was not reached Thursday night, but there does appear to be some progress. Governor Gretchen Whitmer met with Republican leaders Thursday--a meeting they're calling "productive."

On Thursday night, both parties had their plans on the table to end the stalemate.

Democrats introduced their plan Thursday and they call it an olive branch.

Senator Curtis Hertel of East Lansing said it's a good starting point for negotiations with the Republicans who control the legislature.

"It talks about how we actually, how Michigan government runs efficiently from some of the mistakes that I think the Republicans made in the original budget. But it also puts in some of their priorities as well. Kind of an olive branch to start working together," Hertel said.

Hertel said he thinks negotiations are still needed.

"I think we have to have negotiations still, I think that none of these problems are too big for us to solve. We need to work together, get in a room and solve these problems together for Michigan's people," Hertel said.

Republicans agree there is some common ground, but they want to make sure the governor and Democratic lawmakers don't put all their focus on the roads and infrastructure at the expense of the rest of the budget.

"We need funding for rural hospitals, we need funding for sheriffs road patrol, we need funding for PFAS and all those things were cut and we want to bring them back," Representative Graham Filler said.

The supplemental bills would restore much of the funding Gov. Whitmer cut from the budget when she signed it. She sounded encouraged by Thursday's meeting, but stopped short of saying she's close to a deal with Republicans.

"I don't think there is assurance of anything at this juncture. I just know that there has been two versions of supplementals that have been floated, one republican, one democratic. It probably means that there is some space to have some conversation about what might be in one," Gov. Whitmer said.

The governor and Republican leaders are scheduled to meet again next week.

The governor used her line-item veto power to remove nearly $1 billion in spending when she signed the budget bills at the end of September.

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