Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Whitmer Signs Budgets, But Wields Line-Item Veto Power “In A Way No Other Governor Has”

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The governor vetoed 147 line-items in the budget, totaling almost $1 billion.

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Gongwer Editor Zach GorchowRick Pluta, MPRN
Rick Pluta, MPRN

Gongwer Editor Zach Gorchow

It’s October 1 — a date state lawmakers, the governor, and state employees have been counting down to for months.

It’s the first day of the new fiscal year, which means the budget had to be done today to avert a partial government shutdown. And last night, Governor Whitmer signed all 16 budgets.

But, she also used her line-item veto power 147 times, representing almost $1 billion in spending.

Gov. Whitmer clearly has a point at which she says, ‘Enough is enough…I’m going to use the powers of the executive office now,” says Gongwer Editor Zach Gorchow on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

And she’s applying them in a way no other governor has.”

Clearly the goal of the governor here is to restart and reset budget negotiations,” Gorchow continues. “The governor, I believe, felt she needed to send a strong message.”

Click on the= player above to hear Gongwer Editor Zach Gorchow talk about the budget and read more about the vetoes from Michigan Public Radio below.

Gov. Whitmer giving her 2019 State of the State address.Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Gov. Whitmer giving her 2019 State of the State address.

Gov. 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.

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 Sen. 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. State House Speaker 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 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.”

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

She 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 Tuesday morning. That board has the power to move money around within departments without approval of the Legislature.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


Cheyna Roth, Reporter

Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.

CRoth@mlive.com Follow @Cheyna_R

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