Lawmakers optimistic about budget before deadline


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Now that budget talks have resumed at the Michigan Capitol, lawmakers are scrambling to meet the deadline — though some are concerned it could create a less-than-acceptable outcome.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she would drop her demand to tie road funding to the budget. Her team met with legislative appropriators Tuesday, so a deal could get done, but the timeline is tight.

Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, is the majority floor leader and as such will be in the thick of the process of moving budget bills. He said getting a budget done in 20 days will be much smoother with the governor on board.

“Hopefully, the administration is part of those negotiations. Makes it a whole lot easier for me as the appropriations chair for that subcommittee, the largest subcommittee,” MacGregor said.

He was referring to the Community Health and Humans Services subcommittee, which deals in more than $25 billion.

But despite what appears to be cautious optimism a budget deal can get done, not everybody believes it will be a good one. Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, is concerned that with so little time to reach an agreement, the budget will not address priorities for him and his constituents.

“It serves the interests of people who do not want to invest in our roads and our schools and our human services to delay the budget this much and to put everybody over a barrel and put all of our schools and community organizations in a bad spot,” he said.

Still, he thinks that getting a budget done on time is doable.

“I think there’s a high likelihood that we’re going to get something done before the government shuts down. Nobody wants the government to shut down,” he said. “I’m just at this point very, very concerned that that pressure is going to be used to create a budget that doesn’t really serve the people of Michigan.”

The Legislature was scheduled to meet on only nine days before the deadline.

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