Gov. Whitmer, GOP Leaders Agree To Do Budget Without Plan To Fix The Roads

WWJ News
September 09, 2019 - 9:15 am

(Photo: Marisa Fusinski/WWJ)


LANSING (WWJ) - Talks and debate about how to fund road repairs in Michigan will be put on hold so lawmakers can focus on approving a state budget.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders reached the agreement over the weekend, and just days after Republican leaders said they would start approving a new budget without input from the executive branch.

Whitmer had said doing that would hurt families and business.

The offices of Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield released the following joint statement on the matter:

“The people of Michigan deserve leadership in Lansing that will work to continue providing them with services they depend on every day. In conversations over the weekend, we’ve agreed that the best course of action is to immediately begin target-setting with legislative and executive leadership to get a budget passed by October 1st. We have all agreed to continue conversations about road funding in a meaningful way and table all associated issues for the time being. Right now, our number one priority is getting a budget passed. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and negotiating on behalf of the people of Michigan."

The new budget has to be approved by the end of the month or else there could be a government shutdown. 

Whitmet campaigned on a pledge to "fix the damn road," having proposed a 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike that was roundly rejected. Earlier in negotiants, Whitmer said she would not approve a budget that did not include a "real fix" to boost spending on road repairs and public education. 

If Whitmer's gas tax increase were to pass it would make Michigan's gas tax the highest in the nation, at over 70 cents a gallon, which Republicans say is just too much of a burdon on taxpayers.