GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The closures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus in Michigan have dealt a damaging blow to the economy — and that will have big effects on the state budget.
Revenue estimates from earlier this month show the state will be facing cash shortages of around $3 billion for the next fiscal year.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, has said in the past and reiterated Wednesday that he is willing to work with Governor Gretchen Whitmer to figure out how to proceed. He suggested her earlier budget proposal, delivered in February before the pandemic, needs to be redone to reflect the new reality.
“One of requests to the governor is that she give us another budget proposal,” Chatfield told News 8. “Constitutionally, we have the requirement that the governor give a proposal to the Legislature for that year and obviously with COVID-19 coming into our lives unexpectedly, I think we need another proposal. Once the governor can do that, we’ll then look at her numbers and we’ll have internal conversations.”
He said he doesn’t want to reduce funding to schools, one area some lawmakers have suggested may be in trouble.
“But I’m going to tell you this,” Chatfield noted, “we’re going to have some tough decisions we’re going to have to make.”
Chatfield said that despite the Republican-led Legislature still pursuing litigation against the Democratic governor over her emergency orders linked to the virus, he believes the two sides can work together to try to mitigate a big economic problem for the state.