GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The new budget for the state of Michigan won’t go into effect until Oct. 1, but due to a bill passed in 2019, lawmakers are supposed to have the spending plan ready by July 1.
Democrats, who hold 20 of the Michigan Senate’s 38 seats, passed major spending bills that outlined their priorities and desired special projects. These bills would spend much of the $9 billion surplus. Republicans were not on board with the bills. Like minority Democrats before them, they felt excluded.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-North Muskegon, minority vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the process is just beginning and there will be time to negotiate. But Bumstead said that communication could be better.
“On the Republican side, we didn’t get the budgets until just before the committee started… You really don’t know what’s in the budget until you can actually take time to digest it and you can’t do that five minutes before the committee meeting and vote on it accordingly,” Bumstead said. “So you know, I think that could be improved. So we just kind of told everybody, ‘Just vote no until you know what’s in your budgets because negotiations are further ahead.'”
Infrastructure is a major priority for Michigan Republicans, according to Bumstead.
“This week, we got things through the Senate, but there are a lot of amendments out there with our priorities in them, which (are) basically infrastructure,” he said. “Republicans want to pay down debt and put more money toward infrastructure.”
Democrats have rebuffed over 170 of these Republican-proposed amendments to the budget, Bumstead said.
Getting the budget in place in time will require the support of two-thirds of the Senate: 26 senators. Since Democrats have 20 senators, six Republicans will have to go along with the spending plan, which will likely be the focus of upcoming negotiations. The Senate could reach two-thirds by including some Republican priorities, which could get enough Republicans on board.