Senate GOP approves $74.2 billion state budget plan

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Three months after Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her budget for the next fiscal year, there is now a plan from Republicans in Lansing.

This week, the Senate and House voted on their plans. It’s still very early in the process, but their self-imposed deadline for the budget to be completed by July 1 is fast approaching.

“This is the very beginning of the process,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel, Senate Appropriations Minority Vice Chairman.

First Governor Whitmer unveiled her plan, a record $74.1 billion. Negotiations then begin, or at least on one side of the aisle.

“It’s really a partisan budget,” Hertel said, “It was done on one side with little negotiation.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Senate voted on 17 budget plans to send to the House, a $74.2 billion package. Highlighted by an increase of $450 per student for schools, an additional $1 billion for higher education. More money for roads, more money for many things.

“Finding the balance with all the priorities,” said Sen. Jim Stamas, Senate Appropriations Chairman, “There are literally hundreds, if not thousands.”

“Senator Stamas and I work together even though we disagree on some things,” Hertel said, “there is common ground, so yeah, there are positives.”

With initial plans in place, the totals look pretty solid in that $74 billion range.

“It’s been frustrating,” Rep. Scott VanSingel said, “watching him go from 50s to mid-70s in just six years.”

What goes where is still a lot to see. The House will complete its votes and send it back to the Senate. There will likely be a few more back and forths before the governor even gets a final draft on her desk.

“It’s a long highway,” Stamas said, “with lots of exits.”

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