On Sept. 30, Governor Whitmer signed all 16 state budgets for fiscal year 2020. Governor Whitmer used her executive powers to issue line-item vetoes of 147 budget items totaling $947 million, deeming dozens of other provisions in the budget unenforceable. The governor issued a press release outlining her disappointment in the budgets she received from the legislature, calling them “a complete mess.” She stated that she used her executive powers to clean up funding problems, and that additional steps need to be taken, with republicans and democrats working together to fix these issues.
House Bill 4231, which makes appropriations for the Department of Corrections, attempted to cut $15.4 million in facility maintenance and $24 million in special equipment funding. Overall, the bill would cut $48 million from the MDOC to cover funding gaps in other budgets.
While preserving key funding in the DOC budget, Whitmer used her veto power to disapprove eight items in the bill. Among the items rejected by the governor was section 226, which had language that attempted to divert work project funds (previously appropriated for building maintenance projects) and instead put them toward one-time additional funding for training new custody staff, PTSD training and wellness support, replacing training binders, and conducting a study for a suitable location for a CO training academy, among other things. The governor stated that this redistribution of funds is unlawful, and that work project funds should not be used to cover gaps in the budget. Though funding for these items was line-item vetoed, the Governor and legislature can negotiate to restore the funding through lawful means utilizing supplemental appropriation bills.
Conversations between the governor’s office and House and Senate leadership around supplemental bills are ongoing. MCO will continue to keep you updated as budget talks progress.