State parks, SOS offices, road work projects would shutter on Oct. 1 without budget deal

Secretary of State office, Lansing | Susan J. Demas

With a little more than two weeks before the state would enter a partial government shutdown, Michigan’s budget office now has an idea of what will and won’t remain open if a budget impasse continues past midnight on Sept. 30. 

The state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) on Friday released an agency shutdown plan summarizing which state operations would cease and which would remain open in the event that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer fails to reach a budget deal with GOP legislative leaders.

The GOP Legislature on Thursday began advancing its own conference reports for budget areas, which will now go before the full House and Senate. But there’s no guarantee that Whitmer will approve bills that hit her desk.

6 budget conference reports advance, despite Whitmer’s objections

Should the state start its 2020 Fiscal Year without a balanced budget signed by Whitmer, a number of critical state operations would continue. Among them are state police, prisons, child protective services and state psychiatric hospitals, according to DTMB. State-owned bridges like the Mackinac and the Blue Water would remain open at full or reduced capacity. 

However, several functions would cease. Among them are state road construction projects, state-owned rest stops and welcome centers. State parks and Secretary of State branch offices would close and most state licensing and permitting operations would come to a halt. 

The state’s Liquor Control Commission would cease taking orders for spirits. 

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All told, about 30,000 of the state’s roughly 47,000 employees would be furloughed, said DTMB spokesman Kurt Weiss. 

“The state budget office is working closely with all the departments to ensure that state government is prepared should we find ourselves without a budget at midnight on September 30,” DTMB spokesman Kurt Weiss said in a statement. “We’ve got a responsibility to Michigan residents and to our state employees to be prepared if the budget is not done, so we have to be ready for all contingencies. We know the Governor is doing everything she can to ensure a responsible budget by September 30, but we need to plan for all possibilities including a government shutdown.”

DTMB says that without a budget deal reached by Sept. 25, state vendors will be informed that payments will halt at the end of the month. State employees who will be expected to report to work in the event of a shutdown will be informed of that by Sept. 27. Those who are told to show up to work in the event of a shutdown would be paid, while those furloughed would not, Weiss said.

State budget chief begins planning for possible government shutdown

State Budget Director Chris Kolb last month instructed all state departments to send him details on essential and non-essential functions within the department. 

Taking that early step was critical for an operation like the state government, Kolb told reporters.

“There are a ton of questions that have to be answered,” Kolb said last month. “That’s why you can’t just make the decision tomorrow to shut down. You have to go through the entire decision-making process as you’re dealing with winding down a $57 billion enterprise.”

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