Bills would limit governor’s ability to shift spending

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Legislators in Lansing are still grappling with a budget that was passed and signed in September.

On Wednesday, they discussed three bills that could impact the spending package. The package is aimed at curtailing the State Administrative Board, the government body that you were likely unaware of until Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used it to change the way hundreds of thousands of dollars from the original budget would be spent.

Two of the bills limit the authority of the executive branch: one sets limits on how much money could be moved around and the other allows for tighter stipulation in budget language to limit the board’s ability to move funds.

The third bill would set a deadline for the Legislature to deliver the budget to the governor.

“The governor is required to send us (the Legislature) a budget by a certain date, so we’re saying we will send her a budget by a certain date, July 1st,” state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores, who sponsored the bill, explained.

The bills all passed out of the House Government Operations Committee Thursday, with votes coming along party lines.

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig of Farmington Hills, one of the two Democrats on the committee who voted against the bills, said the legislation is not the way to proceed.

“I think … all our attention should be on the budget and our supplementals to make sure we’re taking care of the people of Michigan and not worrying about procedural moves right now,” she said.

Without some type of negotiated deal between the Democratic governor and Republican-led Legislature, those bills won’t be signed and, likewise, the Legislature won’t pass along supplemental spending.

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