State budget process taking longer than usual


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The budget process continues in Lansing at a slower pace than normal.

One of the sticking points is a 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase asked for by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The measure hasn’t been introduced in the House or Senate. In fact, a Senate subcommittee passed a transportation budget that does not include that money.

“This is part of the beginning of the process, but as the chair indicated too, we cannot pass the budget without the dollars there,” said Roger Victory, a Republican senator from Ottawa County and vice chair of the appropriations subcommittee that deals with transportation.

He says they didn’t include the gas tax increase in their budget because no such tax exists, at least not now.

But Whitmer says hers is the only game in town.

“No one has put a real alternative on the table, and until that happens, I think we better get serious about debating my budget,” Whitmer said. 

Victory points out the preliminary budget his group passed does include more money for roads.

“We passed the budget based on bringing in additional dollars into it with the new budget we have, finalizing the 2015 road funding package bringing in over a billion dollars into it,” Victory said. 

Whitmer says that is not enough.

“The fact of the matter is we have a $2.5 billion infrastructure crisis in this state. Our roads are downright dangerous, and they’re getting more expensive by the day when don’t actually fix this problem. We got to get to work,” Whitmer said.

The deadline for getting the budget done is the end of September.

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