UPDATE: Gov. Whitmer updates budget status; pushes her gas tax plan

Local News
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Kolb hosted a roundtable with reporters to update the status of the 2020 budget.

Whitmer told reporters that the most common message she is hearing from Michigan citizens is the need to fix the state’s infrastructure.

Whitmer is criticizing the Republican-led Legislature for taking a “vacation” without a deal to fund state services or spend more to fix the roads.

The Democratic governor held a budget briefing with reporters Tuesday, as lawmakers began a two-month stretch in which session days are “tentative” only. She says average people cannot go on vacation until their work is done.

Whitmer and Republicans are at odds over her plan that includes a 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase to improve roads and end “shell games” that limit education spending increases.

The House and Senate have passed different budget plans, but Whitmer says she’s the only one to put a “complete and real solution on the table.”

Republicans have said talks will continue regardless of whether all legislators are in Lansing.

Whitmer did say she is open to any ideas that might come out of the Legislature from either side of the aisle.

On Monday Whitmer signed a $28.8 million mid-year spending bill to help ensure an accurate 2020 census count, implement voter-approved laws and combat lead in drinking water.

The law enacted Monday also expands a program enabling people on food assistance to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, and replenishes a compensation fund for exonerated inmates.

The measure includes funding to implement marijuana legalization and expanded-voting ballot initiatives, and for the state’s investigation of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Democratic governor line-item vetoed a provision that would have directed the auditor general to immediately review the rollout of automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting requirements included Proposal 3. She says such an audit must wait until after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

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