What's Next in Budget Process

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Since presenting his budget last Thursday, the governor said he's been working hard to promote it.

"Not sure if I would use the word sell," Snyder said Tuesday. "I believe it's the right thing and people will embrace it. It's about more good communication, that's a lot of what I've been doing already."

Now it's in the hands of the legislature.

House Speaker Jase Bolger said they've asked for and gotten more details from Snyder's office. Soon the appropriations committee meets to hammer out each budget bill.

"They will get through the process and work out the details in the next three months," Bolger said.

It's a similar process in the Senate, but before it gets there, the Republican Caucus met with the Senate Fiscal Agency Tuesday afternoon.

"They're going through numbers, looking at the budget in its entirety," Matt Marsden, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville's spokesman, said. "We'll be here the rest of the day to see how we can move forward."

One thing the legislature wants is specifics. Many lawmakers say they will not support a 'rolled up' budget, that's where the departments get a certain amount of money, then department heads dole it out.

"The legislature has an obligation to make sure we have a proper account of where the money is going and how it's appropriated," Marsden said.

The protests that happened in front of the Capitol Tuesday did not go unnoticed by lawmakers, many of whom said they want to reassure their constituents, that their voices are not going unheard.

"This is part of democracy," Snyder said. "I hope we have this dialog in a civilized manner."

Now begins the hard part: compromise.

"We're already hearing from this group or that group that doesn't like this piece or that piece," Bolger said, "but we have to be sure we're all focused on the big picture which is turning Michigan around."

Republican leadership says it is certainly possible to get the budget finished and passed by May 31st like the Governor wants, but there is no guarantee, even with one party in power.

Marsden said he believes the budget will be completed earlier than previous years for sure.

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