Gov. Gretchen Whitmer targets rural Michigan in bid to sway GOP on budgets

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist attend the State Administrative Board meeting on Tuesday to outline a number of spending shifts in the state budget. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)

LANSING — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is flexing her political muscle in an ongoing budget fight, using executive powers to reject Republican priorities in hopes of regaining leverage and restarting negotiations.

The first-term governor signed the budget to avert a government shutdown but used line-item vetoes to eliminate the well-known Pure Michigan tourism ad campaign the GOP had funded, cut spending to support rural hospitals, deny charter schools an allowance increase, chop a private college tuition program and slash funding for a county jail reimbursement program.

The vetoes could have a disproportionate impact on rural residents and communities. But Whitmer offered an olive branch to Republican legislators who tend to support charter schools and represent rural parts of the state. 

“A line-item veto is not a death knell for any individual item if people get back to the table and negotiate,” the governor told reporters, suggesting she is open to revisiting various veto decisions. 

“…They [Republicans] need to get serious. They need to genuinely get to the table to negotiate, and we’re going to talk about the critical functions of government.”

Whitmer on Monday vetoed 147 line items totaling nearly $1 billion from Republican budgets and declared another 72 provisions unenforceable due to constitutional or statutory flaws.  On Tuesday, she executed a rare maneuver to bypass the Legislature and shift $625 million within departments.

Whitmer contended the GOP budgets were “fatally flawed,” using $400 million in discretionary funding for a “phony” roads plan that jeopardized support for other critical government programs, including cybersecurity protection, prison operations and tethers used to monitor parolees. 

‘The governor is the one who hurt you’

Whitmer’s power play comes three weeks after budget negotiations between her and Republican legislative leaders broke down, with each side blaming the other.  The GOP-led Legislature ended up sending her budgets developed without administrative input, itself a rare move. 

The governor is expected on Wednesday to propose an alternative plan for spending the $947 million she vetoed but told reporters she is “well aware” that some small-government Republicans may actually prefer the scaled back budget as it stands after her vetoes.

“If they choose to do that, then it’s going to be on them,” she argued. “The consequences of it will be real, and they will be serious. We’re going to do everything we can to mitigate them, but this is the Legislature that took general fund money out of important functions, critical functions of state government so they could have a talking point roads plan.”

 

But Whitmer’s latest moves have failed to give her significant leverage after she backed down an earlier shutdown threat and agreed to postpone negotiations over a long-term road funding deal, said Republican strategist John Sellek of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. 

“Republican legislators who voted for the budget can stand up and say, ‘I voted yes. The governor is the one who hurt you. Here’s her phone number. Call her and tell her that,’” said Sellek, who worked for former Attorney General Bill Schuette last year in his unsuccessful bid for governor.

While Whitmer stressed an urgent need to negotiate a supplemental spending plan, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said Tuesday he is in “no rush” to respond to Whitmer’s vetoes or her “extraordinary” move to shift funds. She did so using the State Administrative Board, a panel comprised of her appointees, using a maneuver that a Republican governor, John Engler, pioneered in 1991.

“There is no amount of red pen usage that will result in enough green buttons pushed in the Senate to get my governor what she wants,” Shirkey said in a statement.  “The Senate will continue to partner with our colleagues across the aisle and in the House to pass bipartisan policies that benefit all Michiganders. We are in no rush to participate in Gov. Whitmer’s ‘tug of war.’”

Real pain for rural Michigan?

Shirkey has agreed to meet with the governor on Thursday, but her gambit carries significant risk for rural residents, especially if negotiations are slow going.

As Bridge Magazine reported this week, a quarter of Michigan’s rural hospitals are already considered at “high risk” of closing, according to one health care group. Small-town hospitals face tough merger decisions because of dwindling patient numbers, an aging population and competition from larger systems. 

Whitmer’s vetoes could exacerbate patient access issues by cutting $34 million in funding for smaller critical access hospitals, $17.5 million to train physicians in medical specialties most needed in underserved communities, $16 million for rural hospitals that are the sole option in their community and nearly $8 million to help rural hospitals hire qualified obstetricians. 

The Michigan Health and Hospitals Association is “disappointed” in the governor’s line-item vetoes, the organization said in a statement highlighting Medicaid reimbursement rates that would have increased under the GOP budget and other line item vetoes.

“Combined, these items provide critical funding for vital safety net services and care in Michigan’s most remote areas for Michigan families, including obstetrical services for mothers and babies,” said spokesman John Karasinski. “If these funding levels are not restored, it can have critical negative consequences on the access to care for residents in Michigan.”   

Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon signaled that rural health care funding cuts could be reconsidered and potentially reversed in future negotiations with the GOP-led Legislature.

“If necessary, there will be significant flexibility around addressing those needs on an ongoing basis,” he said Tuesday. 

Gordon argued that aggressive budget changes were necessary because the Republican budgets failed to meet other “essential needs” of the department, including funding for disabled children, implementation of new Medicaid work requirement rules and initiatives to address lead and copper exposure in drinking water. 

Whitmer used the Administrative Board to address some of those needs by shifting funds within the department, a move that does not require legislative authorization. 

‘Political pawns’ 

The governor used another line-item veto to cut nearly $15 million in funding used to reimburse county jails for housing prison-bound offenders in local facilities, which has been a “valuable program in the past,” according to Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington.

“And that’s why we want to get back to the table,” Washington said, again suggesting Whitmer’s veto could be renegotiated. 

“That’s why we want to talk about these cuts. And we want to talk about the solutions to the budget that we have in front of us right now.”

Whitmer and Washington contend the GOP corrections budget was built on faulty assumptions about the department’s account balances and would amount to a $48 million cut, forcing the closure of two full prisons and a nearly-completed women’s Vocational Village in Ypsilanti that provides training to inmates.

The governor said GPS tethers “that monitor sex offenders and drunk drivers would go dark by the holidays” under the GOP budget, which she called a threat to public safety. 

Whitmer also vetoed $38 million for a Michigan Tuition Grant program that uses federal welfare money to support students at private colleges, which has long been a popular spending item for Republican lawmakers.

Whitmer also vetoed $35 million in funding for charter schools, denying them the same sort of per-pupil foundation allowance that traditional public schools will see under the finalized budget. 

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, called the veto a misguided political gesture that could hurt charter school students.

“Obviously, someone thought charter public school students were a way to get attention of the elected officials,” he said after Whitmer detailed her budget moves in a morning press conference. 

“We don’t feel like kids are political pawns. We’d like this fixed.”

Whitmer ‘showed some spine’

The Pure Michigan ad campaign eliminated under a $37.5 million line-item veto has been used to promote tourism destinations across the state but often focuses on popular destinations in northern parts of the state that tend to be more rural. 

Whitmer called Pure Michigan “a fantastic ad campaign” that “gives us all pride” and was funded in the executive budget she proposed in March. 

But she argued Republican budgets had jeopardized “core functions” of state government by using $400 million in general fund dollars as a one-time fix for Michigan’s crumbling roads, as opposed to the kind of long-term plan Whitmer had proposed through a $2.5 billion fuel tax hike that flopped in the Legislature.

“I don’t relish using all of these powers, but I’m not afraid to use them either,” Whitmer said. “And at the end of the day, I’m always going to put public safety — like the tethers we need in the state police budget — ahead of any ad campaign.”

Whitmer also vetoed $600,000 in spending for traffic control at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and $27 million in payments the state traditionally makes to rural communities in lieu of paying property taxes on state-owned land, including forests and swamps.

State Rep. Jim Lower, R-Greenville, said some of Whitmer’s vetoes seem “mean-spirited” and ill-advised. He argued the governor’s original gas tax proposal would already have favored urban areas.

“So the whole budget as proposed and now is implemented, is focused on urban areas at the expense of rural, probably because rural areas tend to be more Republican and she knows that those are the areas that the majority of the legislature cares about,” Lower said. “So I think it's a negotiating tactic that's not going to go over well at all."

Whitmer showed “some spine” by rejecting large portions of the GOP budget and drew some “bright lines that may give her some leverage” moving forward, said TJ Bucholz, a Democratic strategist with Vanguard Public Affairs in Lansing.

The moves left the state in “uncharted territory” as its leaders try to negotiate the fiscal year 2020 budget within the fiscal year, which began Tuesday, he said.

“The interesting part here is what happens next,” Bucholz added. “I’m worried about further partisan entrenchment. This process certainly does not engender good feelings.”

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Comments

middle of the mit
Tue, 10/01/2019 - 9:12pm

"State Rep. Jim Lower, R-Greenville, said some of Whitmer’s vetoes seem “mean-spirited” and ill-advised. He argued the governor’s original gas tax proposal would already have favored urban areas."

That is not true. It IS TRUE that more money would go to urban areas, but they pay more also. If Rural Republican areas and States got to keep every penny and didn't have to pay any taxes, they would lose money. Does anyone believe that Mississippi or Arkansas or Alabama doesn't get more money BACK from the Fed than they pay in?

https://www.moneytips.com/is-your-state-a-net-payer-or-a-net-taker/356

Do you think that rural areas don't get back more in State aid than they pay in? Where does this money come from?

According to conservatives, getting more than you pay for is Welfare.

Unless you are a Republican in a rural district.

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 1:30am

I was digging for info because I remember a Republican legislator saying that rural hospitals should be consolidated and closed and that having helicopter dispatch might be more "cost effective" and then I came upon this; https://www.bridgemi.com/children-families/interactive-map-see-how-many-...

After reading how a few of the more frequent conservative commenters felt about rural Northern Michigan, I thought I might refresh your memory.

[Matt
Tue, 04/11/2017 - 10:56am

A little test for anyone interested, take a walk out on to a frozen lake in northern MI on any weekday and chat with the ice fishermen, half of them will be on unemployment or disability. Same goes with much more vigorous hunting or other fishing pursuits. Then throw in a huge number working for cash. I've had extensive experience in this and clearly there are true cases but most people can talk themselves into or out anything of when given the opportunity.]

Those on unemployment? They are unemployed because their employer pays into the system so that they can collect while the world around them is frozen. They will go back to work within the 4 month period that you don't have to look for work because you are going to be called back to work when the world around you thaws. Can you understand that?

The disabled? They probably have someone else cut their holes for them. And they probably have someone to help them with their deer also.

And those that work for cash? Why would you care if someone made a few dollars doing a hobby helping neighbors? The rest are the people in the article who said they had a disability but weren't claiming it, because they couldn't, because they never paid into the system. Don't pay for homeowners insurance and your house burns down, you are out of luck. If you do pay for your homeowners insurance and your house burns down, then the other people who insure with the same company you do, whose houses don't burn down, are going to pick up the tab that WILL BE more than you ever paid for homeowners insurance.

Is it OK with you that other people pay for your house being burnt down even though you will never be able to pay the insurance company or the other policy holders let alone the CEO and shareholders for what you have taken from them even though they insured you and you paid the premium required?

That is what you and ALL conservatives are saying about the disabled.

And those that can talk themselves into or out of anything given the opportunity, given what the article states and the economy, would you employ anybody that can't lift anything over 10lbs and can't stand for more than an hour? It's not what someone is capable of so much, as it is what people are wanting or needing for employment. Employers aren't going to hire them.

What is your solution? Expand the sales tax to food and clothing? Move to Tennessee if that's what you want!

[Kevin Grand
Tue, 04/11/2017 - 9:24am

This program is mainly a scam and has been clearly documented as such about four years ago by 60 Minutes and a US Sentate Committee on Govermental Affairs.

As a matter of fact, one of the programs rewarded bureaucrats for signing up as many people as they could as a sign of the program's "effectiveness".

That system might work great when you are spending other people's money with little to no regard for accountability.

But with Tax Day looming in just one week, I doubt that you would find very many people who share that sentiment.]

See the problem with your thesis is this, Northern Michigan is at least 60% Republican. So for that to be true, Republican legislators would Definitely have to be involved. Given that they just caved over a Medicaid bill.....

Are you having a problem with your base? Maybe politicians in rural areas enabling a generational culture of Government dependence? Are they not following what you think Republicans are or should be?

Then why do you want to give them outsized influence in the electorate?

I am now wondering if the urban/rural divide is really liberal/ conservative or just urban/rural. Cause you conservatives don't seem to like the hinterlands as much as you like the way they vote.

It's really your conundrum.

Kevie's Facts
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:08am

Not sure how Kevin comes up with the 60% GOP figure in northern Michigan, but we all know there's a big GOP gerrymandering problem in the state, at least that's what the majority of Michiganders made clear in the last election. Meanwhile GOP is going down, kicking and screaming.

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:28pm

Kevin didn't come up with that number, that is mine. Like Herman Cain, I have no proof but there are a lot of Republicans up here and only once every 15 or 20 years do we get a State legislator up here. And only occasionally do we get a dem locally. Usually another Republican or Libertarian who doesn't want to primary the Republican.

The chance of Northern Mi being gerrymandered is possible but only in the Southern edge close to Saginaw and Midland, Too few people spread faaaar apart. At least that is my take

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:46pm

[[Wow! I don't know what's worse; your reading comprehension or your internet skills?

Why not post my comments in the proper context?

Oh, wait, that would also involve including the links.]]

I copy and pasted your entire comment word for word. I posted the link to the article, that is how you found it, isn't it?

[[This program is mainly a scam and has been clearly documented as such about four years ago by 60 Minutes and a US Sentate Committee on Govermental Affairs.

As a matter of fact, one of the programs rewarded bureaucrats for signing up as many people as they could as a sign of the program's "effectiveness".

That system might work great when you are spending other people's money with little to no regard for accountability.]]

Those are either you paraphrasing the articles you linked to or it is your summary of what the articles were and you agree with it, otherwise you wouldn't have posted it. Those are your verbatim words.

Since most of the people up here are Republican, and so are the legislators, what other conclusion should one come to?

[[Do your homework before interacting with the adults in the room.]]

Let me know when the adults get their head out of the sand.

Kevin Grand
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:22pm

"I copy and pasted your entire comment word for word. I posted the link to the article, that is how you found it, isn't it?"

Nope, you purposefully "omitted" the links, thereby changing their meaning.

"Those are either you paraphrasing the articles you linked to or it is your summary of what the articles were and you agree with it, otherwise you wouldn't have posted it. Those are your verbatim words. "

You never followed those links, did you? Your reply pretty much confirms that.

It's kind of hard to have any meaningful exchange with someone who cannot be bothered to bring themselves up to speed on the subject at hand.

middle of the mit
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 7:59pm

Kevin, are these your words?

Kevin Grand
Tue, 04/11/2017 - 9:24am

This program is mainly a scam and has been clearly documented as such about four years ago by 60 Minutes and a US Sentate Committee on Govermental Affairs.

As a matter of fact, one of the programs rewarded bureaucrats for signing up as many people as they could as a sign of the program's "effectiveness".That system might work great when you are spending other people's money with little to no regard for accountability.

But with Tax Day looming in just one week, I doubt that you would find very many people who share that sentiment.]

Yes! They are! Aren't you the one making the claim that repeats what the links you provided say? And aren't you the one saying it is scam?

Once again, Yes! You are!

What difference does it make if I provide a link to the article where anyone can link to it, find your comment just like you did, and then click those links? And what does it change?

You are still calling disabled people fakers. And the Republican legislators that help them get it? You are calling them scammers.

That's your argument. How can you have a rational conversation with someone who won't even own up to their own words?

middle of the mit
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:43pm

You never followed those links, did you? Your reply pretty much confirms that.

Did you even read the title of the article that your response that bothers you so much was about?

Northern Michigan’s 'Disability Belt' now rivals the Deep South and Appalachia

https://www.bridgemi.com/children-families/northern-michigans-disability...

You took umbrage at my post because I said this

See the problem with your thesis is this, Northern Michigan is at least 60% Republican. So for that to be true, Republican legislators would Definitely have to be involved. Given that they just caved over a Medicaid bill.....

Are you having a problem with your base? Maybe politicians in rural areas enabling a generational culture of Government dependence? Are they not following what you think Republicans are or should be?

But the article is stating that Northern Michigan is competing with the deep south and Appalachia. Those are Republican areas. And everything you stated says that you believe they are fakes. You have some reporting that says it's true. Then why haven't Republicans done anything about it? Same reason that they passed the Medicaid bill. It's not true. And all the Republicans wanted to do was hurt urban and black districts. When they couldn't do that without hurting whites in their own districts, they caved.

The people up here destroy their bodies crawling through crawlspaces, attics, lifting, roofing and doing physical labor. Then after 20 or 30 years of that you find you can't do it anymore and nobody will hire you because you can't do what they want you to do. Just because you can ride a four wheeler or snowmobile out to a warm ice shanty and go fishing for a couple of hours doesn't mean that someone up here is going to hire you for a cashier job. Cashiers have to stock shelves too.

So when you are done beating up on the people that support Republicans...

Wait, why I am I defending them against you?

Todd
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:26am

You have no clue what you're talking about. We in rural areas pay waaaaaaay more in taxes across the board than the welfare queens in the urban areas of Detroit, Flint, etc.

Apples to Apples
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:04am

Where are the citations to support your nonsense? Are you comparing outstate Welfare Queens with Urban Welfare Queens? What about that big GOP tax cut? Didn't that trickle down yet? We have a huge deficit now and no growth to show for it. Now the hypocritical GOP is worried about deficits again! LOL

https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/10/01/elissa-sl...

Thor of the North
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 11:20am

If any Dumptroit papers tell you put on your shoes and socks......don't do it in that order.

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:54pm

Economics says differently. I live up here. Northern MI is your local lumberyard trying to compete with a big box lumberyard. Sure we have better lumber, but our prices are higher because of less volume sales.

Northern MI likes to think that it doesn't need cities. Get rid your internet then. Your cars, Boycott the cities!!!

Marlene Augst
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 12:27pm

70% of the gas and oil revenue the State collects is FROM REGION 2 in Michigan, however Region 2 RECEIVED NO GRANT MONEY AT ALL, 90% went to downstate grant programs. People up North subsidize car insurance in this state, there are other things that up north subsidizes and things that are subsidized by down state. As for the gas tax, almost ALL OF THE NEW MONEY would go to Southeast Michigan, not AT ALL BASED on who paid it. Those people up North drive much further average distances than those down state, the negative impact on disposable income would be far greater on those up here as the wages are considerably lower.

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:13pm

State resources are the States. And if you didn't receive any grant money I would take up with your legislator, who is probably a Republican. The reason that downstate gets more money is because that is where the people are. It is the same reason that some roads in my county don't get plowed very often. The further from civilization you are, the more sparse the amenities are.

As for us subsidizing downstaters with car insurance? Have you ever insured your car in a city? It isn't cheap. The gas tax, look, the economic engine of MI IS southeast MI. Us up here? We rise and fall with what happens down there. People try to make industry happen from their hobbies or passions and they can't do it because we don't have the amenities or the talent or as much of it. That is why they leave because we travel so far, the employees need places to live but our wages are too low and then employees can't find housing, oh that's going on in the cities too.

We are more connected than you think we are to the cities.

A lot of wisdom
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:08am

You impart a lot of wisdom and insight; thank you for your thoughtful posts. People need more facts and dialog, less ideology. Over the years, Michigan should have been investing in better, faster, high-quality broadband internet, at affordable prices, maybe even free for everyone! Image the renaissance in our state if that were done! THAT would have helped ALL of Michigan as a world leader much more than any tax cut. Instead, we are deeply divided over nonsense. The serfs are fighting each other for crumbs as they get downsized and marginalized into lesser paying jobs with no benefits, or worse unemployed because of prevailing racism and ageism. Andrew Yang and Maryanne Williamson are tapping into some deep stuff that needs to be explored. So far we have been failing as a state and a country because no one cares for anyone anymore. Unfortunately, greed and moneyed lobbyists have taken over our country. Rural citizens and city people are all fundamentally good people, not the boogeymen that politicians want us to believe. United we stand, divided we fall. Dems and Republicans need to work together. People wave flags and claim to be patriotic, but they hate half the country. It's weird.

Matt
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 1:01pm

MOM you seem to have a memory problem. How much was that the state had to shovel in to bail out City of Detroit in their bankruptcy 2013? After that how much did the state dump in to bail out DPS? Another $617mil in 2016. We'll leave aside the $100's of millions state investors lost on their bonds! We're not even going discuss all the other various benes of all stripes that go there on a continuing day to day basis. City of Detroit (don't mix in the suburbs here!) isn't close to being a positive tax generator and hasn't been in a long time. But they did vote for our gov and that's all that matters!

middle of the mit
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:34pm

No my man, I remember that, but as Sonny Purdue just said http://www.startribune.com/trump-farm-secretary-blames-china-for-trade-w...

"In America, the big get bigger and the small go out," Perdue said. "I don't think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability."

That is the whole point of everything I have been posting about Northern Michigan. Mike Shirkey says Northern Mi has too many roads and they need to go back to gravel. Republicans who don't care if rural hospitals are closed because of less population. Go to helicopters they say.

It's the laws of economics. And Republicans are lying. Where is the trickle down? Why aren't major companies moving to Kansas or Arkansas or any other low tax low income environment?

Why hasn't FOX NEWS left the liberal taxhole of Manhattan, NYC NY state for the greener pastures of rural Kansas?

How and why is it that America has never been so rich and yet we all have to regress and be austere?

Todd
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:24am

Well of course. She can't go after urban areas because that's her base.

Big spenders
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 8:36am

Who is your base? The urban areas fuel the rural areas with their hard-earned after-tax spending on tourism and second homes: hunting/fishing licenses, charter tours, restaurants, hardware stores, groceries, furniture, landscaping, lawn-care, snow removal, heating and cooling, gasoline, car repairs, sundries, flooring, base utilities that aren't even used much, internet service, local taxes, etc. etc. We're all in this together. Stop the "base" crap. You sound like Trump who only cares about his shrinking delusional base that doesn't realize he's president to the .1%. If people like you weren't such cantankerous isolationists, there would be much more investment where you live, including manufacturing. Just stop hating so much. Start loving more.

Diane J
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:05am

As a senior living in a rural area, I'm beginning to see Whitmer more as a second Granholm than a Democrat trying to help ALL Michiganders. Does she think we don't vote because we live in small towns?
If closing rural hospitals among other things is her idea of good budgeting, it's likely I won't be voting for her next time she's up for re-election-and I normally prefer most Democrats' stand on issues.

Thor of the North
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 11:09am

Well like the queen said.... If elected, There will be an open chair in my office for Detroit.

Marlene Augst
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 12:29pm

Had Whitmer been HONEST with the voters of Michigan she would NEVER have been elected. She did a MAJOR BAIT AND SWITCH on voters. She's a fraud and has NO INTEREST in helping the Michigan taxpayers, she's in this for a political career and that's it.

Go figure
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 3:51pm

Most rural communities receive around $9,000 per pupil. If you look at Detroit, Flint and Battle Creek they receive over $13,000. So does this proof the blight of urban areas or lack of of knowledge on running a budget? That isn’t the fault of rural communities. Stop frauding your schools.

Gretchen
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:16pm

Ding-a-ling-a-ling....It's dinner time!!! Everyone come to the table!!!! This is not the final budget, just a wake up call to the GOP that refused to negotiate in good faith.

Northern Michig...
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 2:05pm

Thank you Gov . Whitmer for standing up to bullies Chatfield and Shirkey. There is a new governor in town guys. Gone are the days when you can ramrod a budget through with your spending priorities. Shirkey, please stop with the "my governor" comment. She is not your governor but the governor of the citizens of the state, who voted her in to office on an over whelming majority. We will see how long it takes for these two cowards to back down and negotiate with the governor. Chicken Chatfield's phone is no doubt already blowing up with calls from his tourism business constituents about no Pure Michigan funding.

Bill
Sat, 10/05/2019 - 7:42am

It's a nasty fight over the budget but most of the people live in the cities and therefore should get the most say in spending. It's simply majority rule. If you need state money or resources you shouldn't live in rural Michigan. It's not and never has been a place where needy people thrive.