LANSING, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan lawmakers will have to scale back the state spending plan that’s been in the works for months after revenue estimates came in lower than previously projected.
Estimates of Michigan revenues for this and next fiscal year came in $333 million lower than previously expected. About $160 million applies to the 2016-2017 budget. The Snyder administration and legislative economists agreed to revised numbers Tuesday — a key step need before the next state budget is finalized.
Lawmakers say they can deal with having a little less spending money than anticipated.
“It’s nothing I don’t think we can’t manage,” state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, told 24 Hour News 8.
As chair of the upper chamber’s Appropriations Committee, he’s been here before. He served in the Michigan House of Representatives when the state was coming up billions of dollars short and budgeting was challenging at best. This is different.
“This is typical any time we’re dealing with the economy the way it is,” he explained. “Things are stable, but they’re still fluctuating a little bit.”
The about $160 million in reduction of estimates for the upcoming fiscal year is significant as a dollar amount, but taken against the $55 billion budget as a whole is relatively small as a percentage.
Still, it is troubling, said state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing.
“Unfortunately, the governor’s tax plan of 2011 will create this type of situation,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “A couple years ago, we had a significant deficit we had to deal with. Now we have another deficit we have to deal with. So I think you’re going to see this based on what the governor and legislative Republicans have put into place.”
State budget director John Roberts says spending levels overall should still rise, but not as much as initially indicated in the governor’s budget proposal. That could affect university funding, dental coverage for low-income children, a new statewide infrastructure fund and other priorities. Roberts says the administration remains committed to addressing Flint’s water crisis, though it’s possible some of money could be appropriated in the fiscal year starting in October instead of this year.
Regardless of the estimates, the budget process is still on track to be wrapped up sometime early next month. The House and Senate budgets should go to conference sometime next week. The final plan will result from the revenue estimate reduction and should be voted on in early June.