Michigan Senate Votes to Extend Budget Deadline, Pass Temporary Budget

As budget negotiations bogged down today, the Senate approved a temporary, one-month budget beginning Oct. 1 to avert a possible shutdown of state government next week.

The two bills were sent to the the House, which could approve them in time for the new fiscal year next week — if they’re needed.

Senate Republicans said the measure is needed as a backstop to avoid a shutdown. Democrats accused Republicans of hurrying to leave for a weekend state Republican leadership confedrence on Mackinac Island, one of the party’s biggest events.

The House has tentatively scheduled to meet in session Saturday and Sunday. The Senate has scheduled a Sunday session to act on budget bills if they’re approved by conference committees.

Still to be resolved in those committees are proposed cuts in aid to local cities, welfare, Medicaid payments to physicians and hospitals and transportation projects.

The Senate stood in recess today until 3 p.m., with hopes of voting on those budget bills. The House also remained on hold.

The two temporary Senate budgets — one for school aid, one for the state general fund — were approved by a party line vote of 21-16, with all Republicans voting for it and all Democrats against.

The one-month spending plan for October would enact budget cuts Republicans pushed through in the Senate in June. Those cuts — more than $1.2 billion for a full year — include the controversial elimination of the Michigan Promise grant for college students, a $218-per-pupil cut to public schools and cuts to Medicaid, welfare and many other state programs including severe cuts to health and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, called it “ridiculous” to suggest Republicans are shirking their duty for a Mackinac weekend.

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