Skubick: Moves continue in ongoing state budget battle

Michigan

Both sides in the continuing budget battle at the State Capitol have changed their minds on how to proceed to resolve the dispute.

The three key players in this continuing budget saga have made significant changes in what they said they would do and what they are now doing.

Last week Senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey told the governor it was her turn to send them a proposal to restore some the vetoed cuts she made last week. “If my governor thinks she made a mistake with her red pen she can let us know which ones she’d like to have back so we they can be reinstated.”

But out of the blue yesterday came this list from the Senate Republican leader on where he wanted to restore the cuts totaling about $250 million including giving back $13 million to secondary road patrols, refunding $35 million to charter schools that the governor nixed and $8 million back to local governments.

Before the Republicans offered their list, the governor said she wanted to jump start the budget talks.

“It is my fervent hope that we can get back to the table and actually hash out some of the stuff that we have,” said Gov. Whitmer. “It’s something I’m open to.”

But the governor has also changed her mind.

For nine months the governor lectured the Republicans that they should not use the state’s check book, the General Fund, to pay for road repairs.

But on Monday, for the first time, she opened the door to just that.

She said, “Certainly, if that is an important piece to get people back to the table when we have a genuine negotiation, I wouldn’t take anything off the table.”

The Republican and Democrat legislative leaders are set to huddle with the governor Thursday on these latest budget developments.

And, while they don’t have an agreement, at least each side is doing something to see if they can eventually get there.  

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