Whitmer, legislative leaders swap snipes on budget


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Neither the governor nor Legislature think the budget the state has been operating on for the last month is adequate. So what are they doing about it?

Still arguing about it, letters back and forth show.

The Republican-led Legislature passed a budget without the Democratic governor’s input after negotiations broke down. When she received it hours before the fiscal year began, she slashed $1 billion of spending with line-item vetoes and then took the extraordinary step of rearranging $625 million more through executive authority using the State Administrative Board.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, released a letter they sent to Whitmer.

“Thank you for offering to convene the State Administrative Board to undo the damaging transfers that imperiled critical services across our state,” it read in part. “You willingness to right these wrongs will help restore trust.”

Whitmer fired a letter back, making it clear no such agreement had been reached.

“I made tough decisions to make the budget work considering significant problems with the one I received. As we discussed, I am happy to negotiate a solution,” her letter, also sent Tuesday, read in part.

The governor then laid out some of the conditions that she would require to be met in negotiations.

“If you accept my offer to negotiate in good faith, this matter could all be resolved in a matter of hours,” Whitmer’s letter said. “If you decline, my administration is prepared to move forward making the hard decisions necessitated by the budget as it now stands.”

The administrative board was scheduled to meet three times before Nov. 7, but a meeting that was supposed to happen Thursday was canceled. Without a negotiated deal, it’s unlikely that the governor will agree to any changes in the board’s earlier decisions.

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