State lawmakers are in the third month of their budget recess and with a September 30th deadline for finishing the new budget it’s time to check on how budget talks are going.
Nada, zippo, zero, nothing. There have been no, repeat, no serious budget negotiations between the governor and the two Republican legislative leaders this summer.
It would appear Governor Whitmer is relegated to sitting back and waiting and issuing daily reminders that she’s waited over 150 days for the Republican lawmakers to react to her budget proposal.
To be sure, there have been some information budget talks and some Republican lawmakers have been in town working on the budget.
But last June the governor’s budget director Chris Kolb was warning lawmakers to not wait until September to get his job done.
“There is no easy fix to this and let’s not wait until September because it won’t be any easier,” insisted Kolb.
But barring an 11th hour change, that’s exactly what will happen. The budget will be resolved in September.
Of course, hanging over these budget delays is the ghost of past government shutdowns during the Jennifer Granholm administration with the September 30th deadline about fifty five days down the road.
Nobody in the governor’s officer is overly concerned about another shutdown because once serious negations begin, there is a desire to avert that at all cost.
And the two new Republican leaders are committed to avert that as well but as one source put it, if the administration had a shutdown panic button, nobody would be pushing it now.
But this source goes on to say, if the budget director did have a panic button it would be on his desk right now.