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Gov. Whitmer signs budget bills, with 147 line-item vetoes

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed $375 million in one-time road funding. The governor finished signing all 16 state budgets hours before the October 1st deadline.

Whitmer says she had to make the 147 line-item vetoes to protect Michigan residents. In a recorded statement on Instagram, Whitmer said the budgets sent to her by the Republican-controlled Legislature were “built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power. These are important things that I had to eliminate from these budgets.”

Whitmer also vetoed more than $100 million in the School Aid budget. She says that includes extra spending that would have gone to commercial vendors instead of classrooms.

State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) supports the one-time road funding veto. He says the state can’t keep putting short-term money toward a long-term problem.  

“A veto of $375 million is not significant when we face a $2.5 billion problem. It would literally leave the same potholes intact that people drive over every day,” he says.

Whitmer had called for a long-term road funding plan to put more than two billion dollars toward the roads. But negotiations broke down.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) says he hopes Whitmer will now come back to the negotiating table.

Whitmer had minimal input in the budgets that hit her desk. Negotiations between the Legislature and Whitmer broke down, and the Legislature went forward without her.

The governor likely isn’t done reworking the budget. The State Administrative Board is made up of fellow Democrats and members of Whitmer’s administration. It’s scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning. That board has the power to move money around within departments, without approval of the Legislature.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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