Skubick: Whitmer faces $2B budget hole

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is not only dealing with freezing temperatures but she is also facing a chilling $2 billion hole in her next state budget which she unveils in March.

The new governor is saddled with decisions made by the previous governor and Republican legislature. 

The respected non-partisan Citizens Research Council reports that, based on budget decisions made by Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislature, the new governor is facing a potential $2 billion hole in the budget and if she decides to make some moves the number could be even higher.

For example, candidate Whitmer campaigned on wiping out the Snyder so-called Senior Pension Tax which costs seniors about $330 million. If you give that back to the seniors: budget hole.

And she’s got Republicans who want to do that, too.

“I don’t think it is right to balance our budget on the backs of our senior citizens,” insists Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield.  “I think this is something both parties can come to an agreement on.”

The governor also wants to take $900 million away from higher education and give it back to the 
the K-12 budget, and of course, higher education will want to get the $900 million back somehow, someway.

But wait, there’s more. The previous legislature baked $600 million from the state’s checkbook to fix the roads and there’s another $500 million in the budget to help local government recoup its loses from granting a property tax cut to business.

Budget Costs

  1.  $500M Cities
  2.  $600M Roads
  3.  $330M Senior Tax Cut
  4.  $900M K-1

Total: $2.3 Billion

When you add it all up, it’s a bundle of bucks and what really grinds the governor is she would had over a billion of that amount if, in her words, “the legislature didn’t spend $1.3 billion on the last day of session.”

Which it did, leaving her to figure out where to get the new money she needs to balance the budget.

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