After three months of a budget stalemate, state lawmakers and the governor are moving to restore over $550 million in state service cuts to a variety of programs including needy children and sheriff patrols around the state.
The bitter and caustic remarks over the budget have given way to words of encouragement for thousands on state residents dependent on state services that the governor vetoed last October.
“We have a budget plan agreement to move forward together and I’m happy the stalemate we were in has passed,” said Democratic state Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr.
Republican Speaker of the House Rep Lee Chatfield adds, “it’s an even bigger day for the people of the state of Michigan and it insures that these vetoes get restored and the funding to help the state is put back in.”
As a result, $13 million will be sent to local service departments which were facing upwards of 200 layoffs without this money.
But wait, there’s more.
Sen. Jim Stamas: “We have the secondary road patrols, rural hospitals, isolated schools, hospitals, public safety.”
Skubick: “These would have been in deep trouble without this money?”
Sen. Stamas: “Yes.”
In addition there’s $10 million to hire more corrections officers, restoring tuition grants to private college students, $4 million for veteran services and $5 million to update the parolee tether system.
In addition, although the governor claims is she is not giving up any of her power, to many it appears she is by agreeing to give lawmakers the right to veto any changes she makes to the budget after lawmakers pass it.
The Republican Speaker argues lawmakers deserve that authority.
“I think what we’ve agreed upon is very good for restoring the balance of power,” said Rep. Chatfield.
Lawmakers will put a ribbon on the budget on Wednesday and then, it’s home for the holidays until January 8th.