State Avoids Shutdown as Gov. Signs Budgets Using Line Item Vetoes

On the last possible day to get the job done without facing at least a partial government shutdown, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has today signed all 16 state budgets. However, she didn’t go quietly as she has also issued 147 line-item vetoes “to protect Michiganders public health and safety, access to healthcare and classroom spending for our children.”

Whitmer says that “line-item vetoes to the School Aid budget alone exceed $128 million and include legislative pork barrel spending that steals precious classroom dollars and instead hands it out to commercial vendors.” The governor also line-item vetoed $375 million in one-time road funding and remains ready to roll up her sleeves to achieve a real, long-term funding solution that will actually “fix the damn roads.”

Whitmer says this evening, “The Republican budgets were a complete mess, and today I used my executive powers to clean them up to protect Michiganders.”  She adds, “The state’s budget is a reflection of our values, and make no mistake that public health and safety, access to health care, and protecting classroom spending is more important than handouts to lobbyists and vendors.”

Whitmer reports that the proposed budgets from the GOP cut the following:

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  • Republicans cut $185 million from the governor’s proposed School Aid Fund budget, including:
  • $60 million cut from special education,
  • $97 million cut to at-risk students,
  • $45 million cut to career and technical education students, and
  • $80 million cut from the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides preschool to low-income families in Michigan. Governor Whitmer’s proposed budget would have expanded access to pre-k for more than 5,000 Michigan kids.
  • Republicans cut $61.5 million to install hydration stations in Michigan schools to ensure every child has clean, safe drinking water.
  • Republicans cut $48 million from the Department of Corrections and unlawfully appropriates work projects to cover funding gaps.

These cuts would likely:

  • Prevent the opening of the new Vocational Village at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility and could threaten the closure of the two existing villages in the next fiscal year,
  • Lead to nearly 100 layoffs,
  • And would cease the monitoring of sex offenders and other criminals by not replacing 4,000 GPS tethers.

Whitmer notes that “Republicans cut nearly $53 million from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, including a cut to operations spending that would hurt Michiganders’ public safety, weaken cybersecurity, and force up to 150 layoffs.”

Additionally, she says Republicans cut $33 million to the Department of Health and Human Services from the governor’s proposal and failed to fund the implementation of their own work requirement laws that Whitmer signed on September 23rd, “potentially kicking tens of thousands of Michiganders off their health care and devastate families across the state.”

As she released her solutions to “the mess,” Whitmer says, “The legislature is broken. Talking point budgets don’t fix our fundamental problems as a state. The budgets they passed don’t do enough to give our schools the resources they need to educate our kids,” and adds, “They won’t protect our communities, ensure clean, safe drinking water in our schools, and they won’t do a damn thing to fix the roads.”

The Governor closed her comments by saying, “While line item vetoes can only clean up so much of this mess, additional steps will be needed to protect Michiganders, protect access to health care, and help close the skills gap, and it will take Republicans and Democrats working together to get it done.” Stay tuned.