Whitmer has until Monday to decide on budget


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state of Michigan’s fiscal year comes to an end Monday at midnight and a budget for the new year is not complete.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has received the budgets passed by the Legislature but how she will deal with them remains an open question.

In the meantime, state employees, those who depend on state services and taxpayers wait to see what happens next.

Lawmakers are also waiting and weighing in on the budgets passed on Tuesday.

State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids voted for some of the budgets, but says Democrats still have some issues with it.

“I think some of the poison pills, include cuts to the Attorney General’s office and to the Secretary of State. In DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services), we saw a lot of tinkering with health care access, particularly for women. We have some concerns about the lack of investment in technology and that includes cyber defense.”

State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R- Norton Shores, says he is optimistic that an overall deal can be reached.

“When we talk about different shutdowns, there are different departments of how it’s going to impact people. We don’t want to be talking about a shutdown. But we’re confident that we can all come together and figure something out and make sure the taxpayers aren’t getting hurt in any way” he said.

The next move is all up to Whitmer.

If she chooses to do a line-item veto and sign the bills — there might be more budget work to do, but the government would keep going.

If she vetoes significant parts of the budgets — that could trigger a partial shutdown.

On Friday, there are indications that the threat of a partial government shutdown in Michigan is considerably less than it appeared even a few days ago.

Last week, a notice of temporary layoffs went out to state employees as a precaution in case Whitmer and legislature couldn’t agree on spending plans.

On Friday, a letter went out to the same group that says in part “planning and preparation for a potential state government shutdown can now stop.”

“The notice of temporary layoff provided last week is rescinded. There will be no temporary layoffs on October 1 as a result of a government shutdown. You should report for work at your regularly scheduled time,” the email said.

While we don’t know exactly what Whitmer plans to do with the budget her office confirmed this letter went out.

That would suggest that a wholesale veto of the budget is off the table and one might expect some heavy redacting with her line-item veto pen instead.

No matter what, Lansing should be an interesting place next week.

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