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Snyder, lawmakers look to trim spending in wake of budget shortfalls

It’s official. Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature have less money to work with than it appeared earlier in the year. Drops in corporate and sales tax revenues mean a budget hit of about $150 million in this fiscal year. The forecast also projects a $160 million drop for the coming fiscal year budget the governor and the Legislature are putting together right now.

John Roberts, Snyder’s budget director, says the administration will look for targeted spending cuts to meet the shortfall. And he thinks it can be done without jeopardizing money to address the Flint water crisis and the looming financial collapse of the Detroit Public Schools.

“I think both are going to be priorities and get funding in some areas,” Roberts says, “but I’ll defer to the Legislature and have conversations with them also.”

Roberts says there were investments planned in some healthcare and IT programs that can be scaled back.

State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He says there’s still money in a $30 billion dollar budget to provide vital services as well as funding fixes for the Flint water crisis and the Detroit Public Schools.

“I think there’s a way very easily to protect K-12, to protect revenue sharing, Detroit and Flint, and have a balanced budget,”  he said.

Part of Pscholka’s plan to balance the budget includes ending a tax loophole that benefits auto insurance companies and costs the state $80 million a year.             

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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