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Budget chief, lawmakers will try to set budget targets this week

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Legislators in the Michigan State Capitol want to do away with the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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 a $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 1, while the state’s budget year begins October 1.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.