Whitmer signs FY 2020 budget fix

    Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed fixes to Michigan’s current Fiscal Year 2020 budget after the COVID-19 pandemic cinched revenues.

    The GOP-led Legislature passed supplemental budget legislation late last month. The bills close a $2.2 billion gap in the budget by tapping into $350 million of the state’s $1.1 billion rainy day fund, using federal COVID-19 relief money and issuing cuts to a number of state agencies and state employee furloughs.

    Whitmer signed House Bill 5265, sponsored by House Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron); Senate Bill 145, sponsored by Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo); and Senate Bill 373, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist give a COVID-19 update | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    “This bipartisan budget package will help protect critical funding for Michigan’s frontline workers, educators, and students, but our work isn’t done,” said Whitmer.

    Legislative leaders and the governor still have to hammer out an agreement for the FY 2021 budget by Sept. 30 to avoid a partial government shutdown. Next year’s budget is running about $3 billion in the red.

    Last week, Whitmer said at a news conference that the GOP-led U.S. Senate’s new coronavirus relief package needs to include aid to states, which are facing severe budget shortfalls during the pandemic. The Democratic-led U.S. House package, which passed in May, does include help for state and local governments. No deal has been struck yet in Washington.

    “Now it’s time for President Trump and our leaders in Congress to follow Michigan’s lead and work together in a bipartisan manner to extend federal unemployment assistance and provide direct support to states like Michigan so we can maintain essential services like education, health care and public safety,” Whitmer said in a news release.

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    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.