No closer on budget deal: Whitmer hits GOP leaders for upcoming ‘weekend getaway’ with Pence

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and GOP legislative leaders still haven’t struck a budget deal, with education and infrastructure as the major sticking points, and 48,000 state employees have received temporary layoff notices if the government partially shuts down on Oct. 1.

    On Tuesday, the governor sent a letter asking State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) for Fiscal Year 2020 budget bills on her desk before they leave for a “weekend getaway” on Mackinac Island.

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

    The Michigan Republican Party is holding its biennial conference at the Grand Hotel starting Saturday, with Vice President Mike Pence and several GOP figures set to speak.

    Whitmer’s missive, which she released to some media, acerbically noted the GOP-led Legislature’s “two-month long vacation.”

    “I am writing to respectfully ask that prior to socializing with Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Haley Barbour, you complete all of the necessary work to get your budgets passed and sent to me with time for my team and me to review them and get them signed by September 30th.”

    Pence added as speaker at Michigan Republican confab

    Whitmer acerbically continued, “As you may know, executing budgets is a lengthy and complicated task,” but noted she needs time to do so.

    Chatfield and Shirkey
    Lee Chatfield (left) and Mike Shirkey (right)

    GOP-controlled conference committees passed out six department budgets last week and more are scheduled for Thursday. Shirkey told the Associated Press that there’s plenty of time for the governor to review the conference reports, but the Legislature won’t be passing budgets until next week.

    “Quite frankly, I think our personal impasse that we are at on this budget right now is silly,” Chatfield said Tuesday. “And I think it’s time for people in this town to step up, show some real leadership and negotiate in good faith.”

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.


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