Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders have agreed to finalize a state budget without including a long-term funding plan to fix the state's poor roads.
The deadline for the budget to be finalized is Oct. 1. After negotiations appeared to have been stalling between the two sides due to a disagreement on roads funding, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R), and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) released the following joint statement Monday morning:
"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."
Whitmer has been calling for a new roads funding package to be part of the new state budget. She announced Friday she would be holding another news conference on Monday to address the budget, but that news conference was canceled Sunday evening.
"Instead of working with the governor to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement, the Republican-controlled legislature took a two-month summer vacation," read a statement from Whitmer's office on Friday.
Both sides have been warning of a partial government shut down if the deadline is not met. However, talks over the weekend changed the tone as Whitmer has agreed to separate the roads funding talks from the budget talks.
Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey said they agreed not to talk about proposal specifics in public. Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield agreed it was time for Whitmer to split roads funding from the budget and negotiate on two different tracks, and that appears to be the case now.