There’s no end yet to the standoff between Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature’s Republican leaders that’s delayed wrapping up the state budget. But they are talking again.
Gov. Snyder met Wednesday with GOP leaders for the first time since the legislators cut their own budget bargain without him. That’s despite the fact that he gets to sign or veto whatever the Legislature comes up with.
Snyder emerged from the meeting without a deal, but he says the talks were constructive.
“We had a very positive meeting,” he said. “Good discussions are going on, and we’re going to talk more frequently.”
Snyder has set a goal of getting the budget wrapped up every year by early June. That’s good for local governments, school districts, colleges, and universities with fiscal years that begin July 1.
The question is whether GOP leaders are willing to jeopardize the six-year streak of wrapping up the budget in June by sticking to their budget plans. The biggest difference is what to do with teacher retirement benefits.
The governor says the state can’t afford the costs of putting all new teachers into a 401(k)-type of plan, which is what Republican legislative leaders are calling for.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) also called the 75-minute meeting “positive” and “productive” without sharing any details.
“Very productive, profitable meetings, and again, we’re going to meet again a lot more here in the future,” he said. “Just, very productive.”
House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) was also in the meeting.
The subscription-only state Capitol newsletter MIRSNews.com reports the governor and the leaders did move closer to a deal that would continue a version of the current system that allows new teachers to choose a defined-benefit pension, but one with less-generous benefits than what’s currently offered.