Former longtime Michigan House Appropriations Chair Don Gilmer died Monday at the age of 73, WKZO-FM and other media reported.
The Kalamazoo-area Republican served in the House from 1976 until 1998 and was a key player in the passage of Proposal A, which overhauled property taxes and school funding in Michigan. Gilmer also served as Gov. John Engler’s lottery director and budget director after leaving the House.
A moderate Republican, Gilmer forged friendships on both sides of the aisle. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm named him to her blue-ribbon fiscal panel in 2007 as the state faced a roughly $2 billion deficit during its decade-long recession, along with former Gov. William Milliken and former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz. Gilmer was in the chamber during the brief, partial shutdown that followed after Granholm was initially unable to strike a deal with the GOP Senate and Democratic House.