GOP leaders, Whitmer admin. announce FY ‘22 budget deal, details MIA

By: - September 16, 2021 11:04 am

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

Updated, 12:15 p.m. 9/16/21 and 3:10 p.m. 9/17/21, with additional comments

Budget leaders from Michigan’s executive office, House and Senate announced Wednesday that they have reached a deal on the upcoming state budget for the new Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, but offered little in the way of what that budget will entail.

There are 15 days left before FY 2022 begins on Oct. 1. The state must balance its budget and have it signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by midnight on Sept. 30 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

So far, the only finalized part of the budget is the $17 billion FY 2022 School Aid budget that Whitmer signed in July to primarily fund K-12 schools.

Jim Stamas

Now, the state Legislature will move forward with an omnibus budget to cover funding for all remaining state departments and agencies, as well as funding for state universities and local governments. Whitmer and GOP leaders had agreed earlier this year to negotiate the FY ‘22 budget together and avoid another rocky budget process.

State Budget Director David Massaron, in a joint statement with Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), thanked the GOP leaders for “the good working relationship that we forged during this process.”

“This is a budget that is good for Michigan. It reflects shared priorities that will move Michigan forward as we continue to emerge from the pandemic as an even stronger state,” Massaron said.

In an email Friday, Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy said the governor is pleased that the top state officials worked together successfully on an agreement and is “grateful to the Legislature” for working with the executive office.

“We look forward to further collaboration with the Legislature to invest the billions in federal dollars we have received from the American Rescue Plan and the billions more we are expected to receive from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to create good-paying jobs, support Michigan families, and continue our strong economic success,” Leddy added.*

“The last year and a half has been hard on all of our families and communities. Addressing their needs — from jobs to education to government accountability — is at the center of today’s budget deal,” Stamas said. “… Michigan families are counting on us to invest in them. This budget does that by laying the groundwork for a healthy economy for Michigan’s future.”

Like Stamas, Albert also made mention of a boost to aid to continue Michigan’s COVID-19 recovery.

“A historic investment in schools already has been finalized, and now we are close to finishing work on other parts of the state budget that will help meet the needs of Michigan residents and continue the state’s recovery from the COVID pandemic,” Albert said in the statement.

The budget process will proceed “in the upcoming week” as usual, with conference committees and a floor vote, the statement notes.

“Naturally, as his Approps Chair, the SML is supportive of Sen. Stamas’ efforts and progress,” said Abby Mitch, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), in a statement.

A spokesperson House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the past few years with divided government, the budget process has been contentious at times, particularly in 2019 when a budget impasse nearly led to a partial state government shutdown.

After that, state lawmakers passed a bill to ensure a budget proposal on the governor’s desk by July, but that date passed this year with just the School Aid Fund being finished. The legislation setting the July 1 budget deadline did not come with any penalties for missing the deadline.

In late August, with the Sept. 30 budget deadline looming, Massaron had sent an email to all department heads urging “contingency planning” in the case of a possible government shutdown. Former Budget Director Chris Kolb had done the same in 2019.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.