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Budget chief, lawmakers will try to set budget targets

A 2015 photo of the interior of the statehouse dome in Lansing, Mich. A federal court has ruled that the state's congressional map and some state legislative districts were unfairly gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.

Budget negotiations between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders will re-start this week with new numbers to work with.

A board made up of the state treasurer and House and Senate fiscal experts determined Friday that Michigan’s budget picture is much better than expected – with $2 billion windfall.

Some of that is due to the economic recovery. Some of it is federal COVID-19 assistance.

“And the thing that we need to do now, which is the real hard work, is tie those resources to those problems and figure out the most-effective way to solve them,” said David Massaron, Whitmer’s budget director.

The next step is for Whitmer and legislative leaders to agree on spending targets for different areas of the budget before appropriations subcommittees go to work on the details.

Schools and local governments – which are also in for federal COVID money — will be watching for the Legislature and the governor to forge ahead quickly so they know what to expect in the post-COVID-era.

School districts and local governments have fiscal years that begin July 1st, while the state’s budget year begins October 1st.