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Gov. Whitmer wants to negotiate. Shirkey: “The budget is over.”

Cheyna Roth
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Republican leaders to come to the bargaining table.

Earlier this week, Whitmer announced more than 100 line item vetoes that she made in the state budgets, and she moved money around within departments (that’s something she can do without the approval of the Legislature).

During a press conference on Wednesday, Whitmer announced that she wants to take a lot of the money that won’t be spent on the items she vetoed, and put those toward a new supplemental budget.

Whitmer’s key priorities for that supplemental budget include: more money for the Department of Corrections for programs like the Vocational Village, which allows inmates to learn skilled trades skills; more money for departments like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget; increased funding for more literacy coaches; and money for the first two years of the Michigan Reconnect program, which provides free skills training programs for adults and students at community colleges.

“Time is of the essence and I remain eager to negotiate with the Legislature,” Whitmer said.

But the Republican leaders aren’t eager to negotiate with Whitmer about a supplemental.

“I’m afraid the budget is done now,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). “So I think we should go back to the table and start talking about what’s next for Michigan.”

However, Shirkey did leave open a small door. It’s just one that Whitmer will likely be uninterested in taking.

“If my governor thinks that she made a mistake with her red pen, she can let us know which ones she’d like to have back so we can reinstate those,” Shirkey said. “Or at least consider reinstating them.”

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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