Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas
The Republican-led Legislature on Tuesday moved to possibly restore roughly one-third of the almost $1 billion in vetoes handed down last week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
GOP state Senators introduced 23 supplemental spending bills for Fiscal Year 2020 and the House introduced 24 bills. Each totaled about $257 million.
The bills would restore funding for a wide range of items vetoed by Whitmer, such as $1 million for a program for families of those with autism; $38 million for tuition grants for students at Michigan private universities; and a $35 million boost in per-pupil spending for charter schools.
State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) is the sole Democrat to introduce a supplemental spending bill. Her legislation would restore $7 million in funding for “small, isolated” school districts vetoed by Whitmer.
After Republican leaders last week announced the budget was “done,” House Republican spokesman Gideon D’Assandro said Tuesday that introducing supplementals is a way to have budget options going forward on programs important to the caucus’ constituents.
“These are issues members have been hearing about from residents back home,” D’Assandro said, adding that the elected officials are hopeful Whitmer will work to restore some of the funding.
Senate GOP spokeswoman Amber McCann offered a similar analysis, according to Bridge.
Whitmer last week axed $947 million from the roughly $59 billion GOP budget, which was crafted largely without input from her administration. She then took the rare step of shifting around $625 million within state departments using administrative powers.
Shortly thereafter, Whitmer announced her own supplemental spending goals that were not included in the mostly Republican spending bills. Among those are added funding for the state’s Department of Corrections and boosts for Michigan’s information technology needs.
Spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said the governor is working with state Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, on their own supplemental spending bill, set to be introduced later this week.
“It’s clear Republicans agree the budget isn’t done, and that’s a good thing,” Brown said in an emailed statement.
“As the governor has said all along, she’s committed to working across the aisle to protect the health and safety of the people of Michigan,” Brown continued, noting the DOC and cybersecurity priorities, among others. “If the [L]egislature wants to protect people, the governor is more than happy to negotiate on their priorities.”
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