Gov. Whitmer wants budget bills now
LANSING (AP) — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday urged Republican legislative leaders to quickly send her budget bills before their weekend “getaway” for a GOP political gathering, saying she needs as much time as possible to review and sign them by a Sept. 30 deadline.
Republicans countered that they would take final votes on the measures next week, but that Whitmer would know all the details Thursday. That is when House-Senate conference committees will advance remaining bills that were not voted on last week.
Talks between Whitmer and majority Republicans in the Legislature broke down last week, even after the sides agreed to table discussions over a long-term road-funding plan. At this point, the GOP-led Legislature is planning to send spending measures to her desk, while she is leaving open the possibility of vetoing parts of the budget.
Republicans will meet on Mackinac Island from Friday to Sunday for the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are among those scheduled to speak.
“Over the summer, you took a two-month-long vacation instead of coming to the table to negotiate a budget,” Whitmer wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. “Now, time is of the essence and it is your responsibility to pass all of your budgets and send them to me prior to your weekend getaway.”
She said the bills ideally should be presented to her two weeks before Sept. 30, which was Monday.
Shirkey said there is no reason to pass the measures this week, noting that several were made public last week and the rest would be released Thursday.
“She’ll have plenty of time to study them,” he said.
The Whitmer administration on Monday notified Michigan’s 48,000 state government workers of potential temporary layoffs in case the budget is not enacted in time. About 32,000 could be temporarily laid off, though Whitmer said Tuesday she was “hopeful” to avoid the prospect of a shutdown.