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Whitmer Signs Budgets – With Liberal Use Of Line Item Veto

Oct 1, 2019

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Credit State of Michigan / michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed 375 million dollars in one-time road funding.  As Cheyna Roth reports, the governor finished signing all 16 state budgets hours before the October 1st deadline.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed all of the state’s budgets for the new spending year – and used up a lot of red ink in the process.

Governor 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.”

One of the many items Whitmer said “no” to was millions of dollars in one-time funding toward the state’s roads.

Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) supports the veto.  He said Republicans have been throwing insufficient money at roads for years, and it’s not working.  Moss said the state can’t keep putting short term money toward a long-term problem.

“A veto of 375 million dollars is not significant when we face a two-point-five billion dollar problem,” he said in an interview.  “It would literally leave the same potholes intact that people drive over every day.”

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) said in a statement that he hopes Whitmer will now come back to the negotiating table.

“This budget impasse was silly and completely avoidable,” Chatfield said in a statement.  “Instead of working this out together, the governor decided to play political games and walk away from negotiations.  Her tactics wasted everybody’s time and manufactured a crisis out of thin air.  I hope it was worth it.”

Whitmer also line-item vetoed more than 128 million dollars in spending in the School Aid budget.  She said in a statement that the vetoes “include legislative pork barrel spending that steal precious classroom dollars and instead hands it out to commercial vendors.”

Whitmer has yet to release a detailed list of all the line-item vetoes.

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

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org