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Whitmer says GOP budget bills are 'a mess'

Posted at 4:39 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 21:10:12-04

LANSING, Mich. — A budget is on it's way to the Governor's desk.

The legislature sent her the final spending bills Tuesday afternoon and she hasn't said if she'll sign them.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield released the following statement after the Michigan Legislature finalized the state budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020:

“The people of Michigan deserve a state government that reflects their priorities and makes responsible, long-term decisions. They need a plan that funds critical services and protects their household budgets. The state budget finalized today does all of that, and that is why it received strong, bipartisan support.

$400 million in general funds would be used to boost roads and bridges under the new budget bill approved on Tuesday.

“I am proud of the work done by our budget committee members and everyone in the Legislature who was willing to put people before politics and vote yes today," said Chatfield. "Even though the governor chose not to be a part of the process and hasn’t put in any work on the budget in weeks, representatives and senators from both parties banded together to do the right thing for the people we represent and get this done.”

Governor Whitmer released a statement that says, "These budgets are a mess. After taking time off for a two-month summer vacation and a weekend getaway on Mackinac Island, Republicans are playing more shell games with the state budget so they can buy a phony talking point that they're spending 'record money' on roads."

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature passed the $44.7 billion in proposed spending.

That is far less than what the Governor says she needs, which is $2.5 billion.

Whitmer and Democrats oppose Republicans' planned use of $400 million in one-time general funds in the transportation budget -- a routine practice in recent years, but one they say is a Band-Aid approach that tightens other spending that already is being squeezed by a past road-funding deal.

Republicans say using existing revenues prevents the need for Whitmer's proposed gas tax increase, which is dead.

“Michiganders deserve better," she said. "It’s time for Republicans to stop playing games and put a real road funding solution on the table that keeps drivers safe, ensures our roads get fixed with the right materials and mix, and makes road repairs now so costs don’t keep going up over the long run.”

If the governor vetoes the bills we're almost certainly headed for a shutdown because the senate won't be in session until next Tuesday, a few hours after the deadline.

"I've seen during the time I've worked three other times they were going to shut us down and they never shut us down for a full day," a state employee said.

"Your most immediate impacts as a general Michigander would be the Secretary of State branch offices, state parts, lottery being down, those kinds of things," Kurt Weiss, of the state budget office said.

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