LANSING, Mich. – With the deadline fast approaching, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer avoided a state shutdown by signing the budget bills sent to her desk by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
She used her line-item veto power and cut nearly $1 billion out of the budget. In a video posted to Twitter, Whitmer explained her reasoning.
Today I signed all 16 state budgets and issued 147 line-item vetoes. The budgets the Republicans sent me were a mess, and I used my executive power to protect Michiganders public health and safety, access to healthcare, and classroom spending for our children. #MIBudget pic.twitter.com/Upi6EOGD1K— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 30, 2019
"I had to use my line-item veto to try, and clean up budgets that were a complete mess," she said. "Built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power -- these are important things I had to eliminate from these budgets."
Republican leadership fired back immediately.
"This whole budget impasse was silly and avoidable," House Speaker Lee Chatfield tweeted. "Now that the governor's shutdown threat has been shown to be simply empty words, the cameras will stop rolling and headlines will move on. Hopefully that means she will finally come back to the negotiating table and get back to work," he said.
Whitmer's use of the line-item veto was the most aggressive in at least 40 years. Watch for her to continue moving money around within departments on Tuesday. She can't appropriate it, but once it's there she can put it where she wants it within a department.
With a budget in place and barbs traded expect negotiations on roads to continue. Whitmer's budget wanted a 45 cent gas tax increase, that's an unpopular idea that was shot down both by Republicans in the Legislature as well as members of her own caucus.
Her line-item vetos included nixing $375 million for roads, which means it's back to the drawing board for Whitmer and the Legislature.