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Mon March 10, 2014
State Lawmakers, Governor Wrangle Mid-Year Budget
Governor meets with legislative leaders to hammer out road fix, Medicaid deal
State lawmakers are about to dive into the process of crafting a budget for next fiscal year. But they have to fix some problems with the current year's budget first.
One of the biggest concerns is a hole in the state's Medicaid budget of more than $100 million. Everyone agrees that shortfall needs to be addressed. But the state House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to fix it or where that money should come from.
State legislative leaders are meeting with Governor Rick Snyder this week to hammer out a deal on a mid-year budget bill that could be used to patch the Medicaid shortfall.
But House Republican leaders are looking to address the issue in a controversial bill that would overhaul the state's no-fault auto insurance system. That plan does not seem to be resonating with Democrats or Republican leaders in the state Senate.
"So many things are on the hook with this supplemental," said state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. "So I hope we don't continue to politicize this and move on and fix our budget versus trying to put a very challenging issue like auto no-fault into the mix."
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, has also expressed reservations about addressing the shortfall with the auto no-fault bill. But he says the most important thing is to find a solution - and quick.
"It couldn't go fast enough," said Richardville. "I'd like to get that behind us and move on to the current year's budget."
Gov. Snyder is also meeting with Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, this week to try to reach an agreement on a plan to address this monster pothole season.
The House and Senate have different ideas of how much emergency road money is needed. They also disagree about whether it should come out of the state's budget surplus or a fund for pet road projects singled out by state legislators.