Senate GOP Approves $74.2B State Budget Plan

Three months after Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her budget for the next fiscal year, there is now a plan from the Republicans in Lansing.

This week, the Senate and House have been voting through their plans. It is still very early in the process but their own self-imposed deadline to have the budget done by July 1 is quickly approaching.Budget Votes Pkg 5 4 2200 00 20 05still001

“This is the very beginning part of the process,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel, the Senate Appropriations Minority Vice-Chair.

First Governor Whitmer unveiled her plan, a record $74.1 billion. Then the negotiations begin, or at least on one side of the aisle.

“It’s really a partisan budget,” said Hertel, “That’s been done on one side with little negotiation whatsoever.”

Tuesday and Wednesday the senate voted through 17 budget plans to send to the House, a $74.2 billion package. Highlighted by a $450 increase per pupil for schools, a billion dollars extra for higher ed. Even more money for roads, more money for a lot of things.

“Finding the balance with all the priorities,” said Sen. Jim Stamas, Senate Appropriations Chair, “There are literally hundreds, if not thousands.”

“Senator Stamas and I work together even though we disagree with things,” said Hertel, “There is some common ground so yes there are some positives.”

With the initial plans laid out, the totals seem pretty set in that $74 billion range.

“It’s been frustrating,” said Rep. Scott VanSingel, “Seeing it grow from the high 50s to now the mid 70s in just a six year timespan.”

What goes where is still very much to be seen. The House will finish their votes and send it back to the Senate. There will probably be a back and forth a few more times before the governor even gets a final draft to her desk.

“It’s a long highway,” said Stamas, “With a lot of exits.”