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Budget standoff continues as shutdown deadline looms

The slow roll toward a partial state government shutdown continues in Lansing. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders aren’t talking, and each side says the other side is at fault.

Republicans say they won’t vote for the governor’s proposed gas tax increase. And they promise to start sending her budget bills this week with or without a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s ready to negotiate until the last moment, but it’s up to Governor Whitmer to call the meeting.

“There’s only person in this state that will execute and cause a shutdown, and it’s her,” Shirkey says.

Republicans say any discussions about fuel taxes should wait until after a new budget is adopted. But once that happens, the governor loses bargaining leverage.

“I think this impasse is silly," says Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield. "It’s time for people to step up, show some real leadership. That’s called consensus. That’s called government. I’m committed to working with her, and I hope and pray that she’s willing to continue negotiating with us, and I expect to hear back from her shortly.”

The state budget office has sent notices to state employees. The letters say there could be layoffs if there’s no budget deal by October First. That’s the start of the state’s new fiscal 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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