Michigan governor and lawmakers play budget blame game

Michigan
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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan’s governor and lawmakers released statements today blaming each other for not having a budget deal passed.

“Let’s be very clear – Republicans wasted two months by going on vacation this summer instead of staying in Lansing to negotiate. That’s the only reason we don’t have a budget right now. After months of inaction, the best plan they could come up with would steal money from other priorities and doesn’t fix the roads. This status quo budgeting will only keep our roads the worst in the nation and our schools at the back of the pack. It’s not a real solution, and it won’t solve the crises our state is facing in education and infrastructure. Our citizens expect government to function, and I remain committed to doing that despite continued Republican actions to the contrary.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement on budget negotiations

“At this point, our plans are proceeding without consensus agreement from Gov. Whitmer because she continues to play games with road funding and Michigan taxpayers. She spent all summer demanding a $2.5 billion tax increase on Michigan drivers, but now she insists our new budget plan invest no additional money toward roads at all. Her position doesn’t make any sense.”

House Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez, R-Port Huron, released the following statement on budget negotiations

“Our sincere efforts to reach consensus on budget targets came to an abrupt end when my governor ended negotiations this afternoon. A negotiation must include parties that put forth genuine effort to compromise and reach consensus. We could not have predicted that our talks would break down over my governor wanting less money to fix the roads, but in the end, we could not accommodate her position.”

Senate majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake via Twitter

As recently as Wednesday morning, lawmakers said they were still negotiating with the governor and her administration on budget talks.

Initially, the governor and legislative leaders were working to come to a consensus on a long-term road funding deal prior to getting the budget done, but on Monday said in a joint statement they would set those talks aside.

The key disagreement came over Whitmer’s 45-cent fuel tax proposal.

House and Senate members are scheduled to meet Thursday for conference committees to resolve differences between the two chamber’s budget plans passed earlier this year. Whitmer told reporters Wednesday morning that she hoped the committees would be canceled while negotiations continued, according to our media partners at MLive.

Shirkey said those meetings would continue as scheduled.

House Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez agreed with Shirkey’s statements Wednesday.

The deadline to pass a budget for the next fiscal year is Sept. 30. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and if a funding plan isn’t in place the state would go into shutdown.

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