Next on tap for Michigan legislature: the budget

The rotunda in the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing. (Jan. 17, 2017)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — After a two-week period for district work and some time off for the Easter holiday, Michigan lawmakers head back to Lansing this week.

The new legislature got off to a bit of a shaky start this year when a bill to roll back income taxes, which was favored by majority Republican leadership, failed. But now the budget process is front and center and sure to occupy legislators’ attention.

When asked if the first quarter had been average, below average or above average, state Rep. Holly Hughes replied, “somewhere in the middle.”

“I think it’s really going to heat up now that we’re keying in on the budget,” the Republican from Montague continued. “We’re going to be done by the end of May or the first week of June, as we have been for the last six years, so you’re going to see things rolling a little harder here.”

Rep. David LaGrand, a Democrat from Grand Rapids, pointed out the other party’s rocky start when asked for his assessment.

“I think what we’ve seen at the federal level is sort of what we’ve seen at the state level, which is some real division inside the Republicans and that, from a Democratic standpoint, is not all that bad,” he said. “So there are some moderate Republicans who are, I think, fiscal conservatives who really balked at slashing our income tax revenues without any clear plan as to how you deal with that in a budgetary process.”

Both members agreed the budget will be the real focus in the next six weeks, with a lot of work still to be done to meet that late May or early June deadline.

The Senate will be back in session Tuesday. The House of Representatives will return Wednesday.