By Sean Dalton
Those hoping for some inkling of progress on the state of Michigan’s budget battle this morning are in for a disappointment.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced late Sunday evening that she was canceling a press conference to discuss the fiscal year 2020 budget that was previously slated for 9 a.m. this morning at the Romney building press auditorium.
Another release earlier this weekend announced plans for Whitmer to travel around the state to speak directly to Michigan residents about her budget proposal.
She will be in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo to discuss her proposed budget’s top priorities, which which includes improving public education funding and a implementing a 45 cent per gallon gas tax to fix Michigan’s roads.
Whether the press conference cancellation was just a scheduling snafu or is indicative of some progress or milestone almost being reached in the budget negotiations between the governor’s office and the GOP-controlled Michigan House of Representatives and Senate is unclear.
Thus far Republican opposition has offered four variant budgets that have all been rejected by Whitmer, who says that the state GOP are “playing games” with road funding.
Aside from the budget, Whitmer has played nice with Republicans in both chambers, giving them a huge win by not blocking changes to the state’s no-fault insurance laws that will see Personal Injury Protection coverage potentially weakened, as Michigan motorists have been given an “out” to reduce their automobile insurance premiums by a paltry $100-200 per year per vehicle in exchange for reduction of unlimited PIP coverage to a $50,000 cap or elimination of it from policies entirely for the full savings.
It remains to be seen what that favor will be worth when Michigan approaches a government shutdown after the October 1 deadline.
You can read the governor’s executive budget at the following link: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/budget/FY20_Exec_Budget_648023_7_648294_7.pdf