GOP leaders agree on budget without road deal with Whitmer
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders agreed to a budget framework Thursday and intend to begin passing spending bills next week despite not having a road-funding deal with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Whitmer has vowed to veto any plan that does not include a “real fix” to significantly boost spending on roads and public education. But with the Oct. 1 budget deadline approaching and no consensus on road funding nearly six months after Whitmer proposed a 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike, the GOP-led Legislature is moving forward — setting the stage for a showdown.
Target spending levels were sent Thursday to the chairs of budget subcommittees, said Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. The figures were not made public.
Some House-Senate conference panels are expected to start voting next week, once details are hashed out. Republican leaders had signaled last week that they would pivot toward finalizing the budget, saying it does not need to be linked with the road-funding debate.
Whitmer’s gas tax increase is the linchpin of her budget plan, however. It would guarantee $2.5 billion in additional revenue for roads and bridges and halt the eventual diversion of $600 million a year in general funds to the transportation budget.
It was not immediately known how much more the GOP’s blueprint would spend on roads, but it is expected to be less than what Whitmer wants. She has said the roads will deteriorate further without a multibillion-dollar influx of new revenue.