Whitmer to Republicans: Send me budget bills this week

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is telling Republican legislative leaders to send her budget bills this week, so she has time to review and sign them before a Sept. 30 deadline.

Whitmer wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, Tuesday. She said they should pass spending measures before a GOP political “getaway” on Mackinac Island — the biennial Republican Leadership Conference — that starts Friday.

Republicans last week began advancing parts of their proposed budget without a deal with Whitmer, after the sides agreed to table talks on a long-term road-funding plan.

She said budgets should ideally be presented to her two weeks before the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30, and she hopes to avoid a government shutdown.

Shirkey and Chatfield said they will continue conference committees and have all budgets out of committee by end of session Thursday, but that senators will wait until next Tuesday to take final action.

They noted that with all of the budget details decided and available for the governor to consider Thursday, she can spend the weekend deciding if she wants to sign it as is (not likely), use her line-item video power to greatly reduce some spending (quite possible) or veto it completely, in which case a partial shutdown could become a real possibility.

Budget negotiations between the governor and Republican legislators previously broke down, so there is no agreement on spending. Chatfield called the impasse “silly” and said he has reached out to the governor to restart talks. Shirkey said the ball is in her court.

The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

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