Skubick: Clock is ticking on budget deadline, confidence still high a deal can be made

Michigan

Lawmakers are on their holiday/hunting break and won’t be back at the Capitol until December 3.

They leave behind a budget impasse that’s been going on for months.  

Yet the three principals in this dispute are saying they will resolve their deep differences.

It’s been ten months since the governor proposed her budget and it’s been ten months and she and the two Republican leaders are still at odds.  

Yet each one is upbeat about resolving their differences.

Sen. Mike Shirkey claims, “I remain optimistic.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer claims, “We’ve got an opportunity here to find some compromise to get this right.

House Speaker Rep. Lee Chatfield claims, “There is hope for a compromise.”

In October the governor slashed state services by almost $950 million and now she wants to restore many of those cuts.

The Senate Republican leader was ready to do that last week but balked because he first wants to dilute some of the budget power the governor has.

Do citizens hurt by these service cuts  care about an argument of the governor’s administrative board authority?

Skubick: “Do you think anybody gives two hoots about the administrative board?”

Sen. Shirkey: “No, not at all.  They want the funding that they want and frankly they want us to get back to policy. The people at home should give two hoots because the governor proposes and the legislature disposes. But no governor has the right to unilaterally change the way the legislature proposes to spend.”

Mr. Shirkey has said if the governor is willing to put back some of the Republican spending proposals they wanted, it might go a long way to break this log jam.

“They are going to be feeling it,” says Gov. Whitmer. “There are enormous potential consequences if they don’t come back and send me a supplemental.”

Even though lawmakers are gone until Dec. 3, the Republican Speaker of the House says private talks will continue and that’s a good sign. But  he’s been saying that for months.

“As long as the three leaders are meeting in the room there is hope for compromise,” insists Rep. Lee Chatfield. “That’s what we’re all committed to do.”

With only nine days before the end of the session, the trio has a small window to get this done with thousands of citizens waiting for their state aid to start flowing again.  

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