Michigan Legislature, Governor Work Towards Budget Deal As Deadline Looms

The state government could shut down in less than two weeks unless the Governor and legislature can work out a budget deal.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been pressing for a viable budget deal since she introduced hers in March.

Republican leaders have shown her their ideas and talks have stalled since.

“The citizens of the state of Michigan don’t deserve this,” says Senator Curt VanderWall a Republican from Ludington.

“We’re gonna work through these budgets one at a time,” says Representative Triston Cole a Republican from Mancelona, “We’re going to go line by line and make sure it’s responsible and we’re spending taxpayer dollars in a responsible fashion.”

The House and Senate plan to vote on their budgets Tuesday and present their deal to the Governor then. Governor Whitmer wants them this week, before the state’s Republicans head to Mackinac Island for the GOP Leadership Conference.

“The reaction to that is there’s really no way to have that done by tomorrow,” says Sen. VanderWall, “We’ve got work to do to get it done. They are still in conference.”

The legislature likes the plan they will send to her desk and there is little time to make changes before the deadline.

“I’m hoping that the Governor can find a way to approve what we are going to send her,” says Rep. Cole.

Throughout this budget debate, it has been billed as Gov. Whitmer versus the GOP leaders in the legislature. That leaves all the Democrats wanting to support their Governor but also having to find a way to make a deal with the Republicans

“I know the people aren’t necessarily clamoring for tax increases,” sats Senator Curtis Hertel, a Democrat from Lansing, “But I know they want their kids’ school to be run well and they want the roads they drive on to be safe and so we have a whole lot of work to do.”

Governor Whitmer has hinted at a veto if she feels the budget falls short Tuesday.

“I think there’s going to be a budget on the Governor’s desk,” says Sen. Hertel, “That’s probably different from getting it done.”

A veto on Tuesday means just one week to close the gaps and get it done before nearly 50,000 state employees face layoffs with a shutdown.

“We see that too much in Washington DC,” says Sen. Hertel, “It shouldn’t happen in Lansing.”