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Whitmer signs COVID-19 budget bills, but with line-item vetoes

Michigan state Capitol
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Michigan State Capitol Building

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed two budget bills to fund the state’s COVID-19 response. But the bills also include line-item vetoes to the chagrin of Republicans and business groups.

The governor vetoed restrictions adopted by the GOP-led Legislature on how the money could be used. Budget Director Dave Massaron said those restrictions were never bargained in budget bills adopted by GOP majorities with no input from the Whitmer administration.“There were some political games played with some of the funding that put restrictions on the ability to use that funding,” he said. “Legal review of those restrictions and the impact of those restrictions is ongoing.”

Massaron called on Republican leaders to engage in direct talks before the end of the week in an effort to settle their differences.

GOP leaders said it’s the Whitmer administration that’s playing political games in an effort to continue using emergency powers.

“Governor Whitmer is so intent on maintaining control over our classrooms and lives that she’s willing to veto spending in those areas just to achieve her personal goals,” said House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) in a statement released by his office. “That’s irresponsible, cruel, and unnecessary. She needs to stop playing politics and get the money to the people of Michigan now.”

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