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Whitmer wants to negotiate. Shirkey: 'The budget is over'

Cheyna Roth
Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently told the media to talk about what she would like to see in a supplemental spending bill.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Republican leaders to come back to the bargaining table.

Earlier this week Whitmer announced more than 100 line item vetoes that she made in the state budgets, and she moved money around within departments. That’s something she can do without the approval of the Legislature.

During a press conference Wednesday, Whitmer announced that she wants to take a lot of the money that won’t be spent on the items she vetoed, and put those toward a new supplemental budget. Whitmer’s key priorities for that supplemental budget include: more money to the Department of Corrections for programs like the Vocational Village, which allows inmates to learn skilled trades skills; more money to departments like Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Technology Management and Budget; increased funding for more literacy coaches; and money for the first two years of the Michigan Reconnect program which provides free skills training programs for adults and students at community colleges.

“Time is of the essence and I remain eager to negotiate with the Legislature,” says Whitmer.

But the Republican leaders, aren’t eager to negotiate with Whitmer about a supplemental.

“I’m afraid the budget is done now,” says Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). “So I think we should go back to the table and start talking about what’s next for Michigan.”

However, Shirkey did leave open a small door. It’s just one that Whitmer will likely be uninterested in taking.

“If my governor thinks that she made a mistake with her red pen, she can let us know which ones she’d like to have back so we can reinstate those,” Shirkey says. “Or at least consider reinstating them.”