Whitmer Signs State Budget on Deadline Day to Avoid Shutdown
Right under the deadline, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the new state budget to avoid a government shutdown Wednesday afternoon.
The $62.8 billion deal was hit hard by the costs of COVID-19 but lawmakers are celebrating their work to get it done.
The stakes were high, the clock was ticking, but the state legislators and the governor came together to balance the budget for next year. State leaders almost unanimously agreeing and signing it right on the deadline.
“There were very few dissenting voices but I’m not surprised there are some,” says Whitmer, “There always are.”
The budget was supposed to be done by July but the continuous costs of COVID-19, and the loss of revenue from the shutdown, forced lawmakers to wait.
“COVID-19 created many challenges for us this year and those challenges made for a unique budget development process,” says Whitmer.
That raised eye brows, almost everyone was left in the dark except for the deals made by the party leaders and the governor. Details not released until the day it was voted on.
“I recognize that in an ordinary year there’s a lot more ability for the public to participate and I regret that that wasn’t able to happen in the midst of all of the crises that we are confronting,” says Whitmer.
More than $900 million had to be cut but about a third of it was found in tightening budgets.
“Including some more health plan savings, there were some reductions due to hiring freezes and spending reductions within these departments,” says state budget director Chris Kolb.
High fives and fist bumps for now but in just a few weeks the work begins on the next budget and the forecast looks ominous.
“The fiscal years 2021 and 2022 are still $4.2 billion less revenue than what we thought we had,” says Kolb.