State Unveils Improved Budget Shortfall Numbers

The legislature and governor have six weeks to put together the state’s budget for next year.

Monday, they got a better idea of just how much money they will have to spend.

“We are in a much better place today than we were in May,” says Chris Kolb, the state budget director, “But we’re still not out of the hole.”

It’s called the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference and it usually happens just twice a year, once in January and once in May.

It lays out what can be expected, budget wise, for the upcoming years. COVID-19, and the costs that come with it, forced a third conference and the numbers were surprisingly good.

“If you have other options that you normally undertake, and they’re not available to you, you may adjust that spending in other categories,” says Rachel Eubanks, the state treasurer.

In May, the state expected a $3.2 billion shortfall for 2020 and it turned out to be under a billion.

Next year was supposed to be $3 billion short while Monday they announced a $2.47 billion shortfall.

A big reason why was the unexpected impact of federal stimulus money.

“We saw the paycheck protection program, enhanced employment benefits and the stimulus checks,” says Eubanks, “That was $43 billion in additional funding that Michigan received that did not come from our own economic activity.”

The numbers were good but still not enough.

“We definitely need more federal assistance to avoid cutting essential services and programs that our residents here in Michigan depend on,” says Kolb.

They will need them quick because the budget is due at the end of September, or else we face a government shutdown.

“Tomorrow,” says Kolbys, “We really start that work.”

Categories: Coronavirus