Road Funding, Medicaid at Heart of Budget Impasse

Mar 5, 2014

The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill. 

Michigan State Capitol Building
Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

The legislation could address emergency money for Michigan roads being torn apart by severe winter weather. But the House and Senate disagree about how much is needed to address the problem. They also don't agree about whether to patch a $100 million-plus hole in the state's Medicaid budget.

Lawmakers formed a conference committee Wednesday to iron out those differences.

Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn says addressing the Medicaid shortfall should be a no-brainer. "The budget today - other than parsing words and making some fancy lawyer argument - is not sound," said Kahn. But state House Republicans want to address the Medicaid issue in a controversial bill to overhaul the state's no-fault auto insurance system. Drivers would have to pay a $25 fee per auto insurance policy to help pay for Medicaid. House GOP leaders say that's a long-term solution to the funding issue, as opposed to a one-year fix like the Senate is proposing. Kahn says both are needed. He says he has brought "nine or ten" different ideas for a long-term plan to address the shortfall to Gov. Rick Snyder's administration. He says he has not heard back on any of the plans - and "time is of the essence."