Lawmakers working on the state budget are facing a July 1 deadline, and it looks like they’re going to take it down to the wire — and maybe even beyond.
In this episode:
- Where lawmakers are on the budget ahead of the July 1 deadline
- Sticking points in the budget
- What else is going on in the Legislature
Gongwer managing editor Alethia Kasben says the Senate is not coming back until this Thursday, a day before the deadline. Lawmakers could potentially vote on it then, but nothing is set in stone.
“There’s really no enforcement in this deadline,” Kasben says. “So we’ll see if they end up running right past it.”
The education budget is one area where there is the most agreement in general, she says. Last year, that part of the budget moved through while other aspects were held back.
“No one really knows when we will move from sort of this COVID economy where people are buying more things, which is increasing our sales tax, which is where a lot of this extra money is coming from, to when we’ll go back to a more services-based economy where people are going out and doing things and not paying as much sales tax.” —Alethia Kasben, Gongwer
This year, the main sticking point with the overall budget is extra revenue. “The state has revenues that have been higher than expected for the last two years or so,” Kasben says. “And that means that there’s a lot of decisions that need to be made, because this money is also thought to be temporary.”
She adds: “No one really knows when we will move from sort of this COVID economy where people are buying more things, which is increasing our sales tax, which is where a lot of this extra money is coming from, when we’ll go back to a more services-based economy where people are going out and doing things and not paying as much sales tax.”
It is also an election year, which means there’s a lot of discussion on tax cuts but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature have not come to an agreement, Kasben says.
“The governor, the Republican majorities [in the Legislature], everyone agrees that they want to do some sort of tax cut,” Kasben says. “The question remains, what will it look like? How much will it cost? And they are fairly far apart on that. There’s some overlap, but I think the Republicans have said they want to go bigger.”
Kasben says the Legislature potentially will move a budget this week that is more traditional and come back later to work on an agreement on tax cuts, debt relief or one-time funding infusions with the extra money.
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