LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will be using her veto pen on portions of the newly adopted state budget but will it be used on the so-called $1 billion pork-barrel spending lawmakers passed in this election year.
It’s a time-honored budget tradition under the domes in the U.S. and Lansing state Capitols, especially in an election year.
Just as voters are preparing to vote in the Aug. 2 primary, both Democrats and Republicans engage in what the critics call pork-barrel spending, the politicians call it funding worthwhile projects back home.
Before they left town last week to hit the campaign trail, lawmakers adopted a record $76 billion dollar budget to operate state government, and tucked inside all that was $1 billion for those projects back home.
The projects include:
- $2 million for a curling club in Traverse City
- $35 million for undisclosed projects on Mackinac Island
- $14 million for a ferry boat to Beaver Island
In the past, governors were free to veto some of these projects, but Whitmer is not ready to do that.
“Each budget ends up with what I would not have introduced clearly,” said Whitmer. “We had to get this budget done and we negotiated it and I’m going to sign it.”
The GOP chair of the house budget committee explains this is a divided government and to get the budget done both parties agreed to this billion-dollar spending.
However, the GOP leaders Shirkey and Wentworth stuck some language in the budget bills that would diminish some of the governor’s power, and you can bet she’ll use her veto pen on that stuff.
‘We agreed that I wasn’t going to support some of the language and they choose to put it in and they know that it won’t stand,” said Whitmer.
But what about giving some money back to weary motorists still suffering from pump shock? Or sending them a $500 check or reducing the income tax rate?
Whitmer says that both her and the GOP leaders want relief for the people.
“We all would like to do relief. There is common ground there. What that looks like is the big question.” said Whitmer.
As for the big answer as to how much you will get back, you’ll just have to wait as there are no talks on that right now.