Budget top priority as lawmakers return to Lansing

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — As students return to school this week, Michigan lawmakers are heading back to work.

The focus will be on the budget as the Sept. 30 deadline looms.

Based on the current session schedules, the House and Senate will have between 12 and 14 days to figure out a $60 billion plan.

The differences between both chambers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will likely come down to two major issues: education and infrastructure funding.

Last week, Whitmer was unimpressed with plans floated by the Republican leadership which previously said her proposed 45 cent per gallon gas tax was a non-starter.

If the real rub is new revenue for roads, is there a chance to get a budget done by the end of the month and then work on a infrastructure plan? On this week’s “To The Point,” Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich seemed to suggest so.

“I think we can figure out a path forward to getting a budget done on time as we always have the last eight years. I would have loved to kept it in June, but that’s come and gone now. And then a path for roads. Now I agree with the governor that we should do it along with the budget, but I’m not going to agree to a bad roads deal in order to get done by the end of the fiscal year. So, if we have to do the budget and come back to roads, I’m OK with that as long as we get both right,” he said.

Whether the governor would be willing to uncouple the budget from a plan for additional roads revenue is another question — one that will be answered over the next five weeks.

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