LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov.-elect Rick Snyder wants lawmakers to not only pass a two-year budget proposal but do it by July 1, instead of dragging the process into the fall, he told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Although Snyder has until March 14 to present a proposal for the budget year that starts Oct. 1, he plans to do it earlier. He also plans to deliver his first annual State of the State address in mid-January rather than at the end of the month, when most recent Michigan governors have done so. .
"We hope to go fast," he said in an interview. "It's setting the tone."
The Republican governor-elect already has told lawmakers and his staff that he wants to get a lot done in the 182 days between Jan. 1 and July 1, including the budget.
Michigan faces a shortfall of up to $1.7 billion in the next fiscal year, something Snyder will have to address in his budget proposal. He declined to go into specifics Tuesday, saying it's still under review.
Deficits over the past decade are one reason few Michigan budgets have been completed by mid-year. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm usually had a budget proposal to lawmakers by early February, but fights over how to deal with the shortfalls led to stalemates that often lasted right up to Sept. 30, the deadline for passing the new budget. In 2007 and 2009, lawmakers missed the deadline altogether, prompting brief government shutdowns.
Snyder said that's not how he plans to operate, and he doesn't want lawmakers to think they can, either.
"The concept I'm trying to get my team to believe in is dog years," he says with a laugh. "It's a little under four years if you take 182 days, so we hope to accomplish a whole lot."
As Michigan begins to emerge from its decade-long economic slump, Snyder said his first priority is to eliminate any hurdles to that recovery. He plans to cut business taxes in the budget that takes effect next fall.
"I always said business taxes were the first things we were going to review," he noted.
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