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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Gov. Whitmer Says She, GOP Leaders 'Desperate' To Avoid Shutdown

Gretchen Whitmer Being Interviewed
Rick Pluta
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she needs to have budget bills that include new money for roads on her desk by this time next month. But serious negotiations with the Legislature’s Republican leaders have not begun. 

Gretchen Whitmer, road work
Credit Rick Pluta / MPRN
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer watches as road expert explains damage to bridge infrastructure.

She’s said that’s because GOP leaders have not presented her with an alternative to her plan that includes increasing the fuel tax.

“We have conversations going," said Whitmer. "There’s no negotiations. They’ve not shared a plan. I’ve read pieces of things that are being debated amongst themselves, but at the end of the day, they’re going to need Democratic votes in the House, the Senate, and my signature to have a budget done, and that’s why we’ve got to get serious about negotiating.” 

The governor said it’s time for the Legislature to return to Lansing to be ready to vote on a budget and a roads plan.

The House and Senate Republican leaders said they will call lawmakers back when the talks are close to yielding a bargain. 

UPDATED at 11:30 a.m.: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she and Republican legislative leaders are "desperate" to avoid a government shutdown, and she may propose a stopgap budget measure as long as there are "good-faith" negotiations about spending more to fix the roads.

The Democrat helped to inspect a Lansing bridge Monday, her latest effort to bring attention to deteriorating infrastructure.

She says she met with GOP leaders Friday and anticipates seeing their road-funding counterproposal in the next week or so.

Her proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase, unveiled in March, has gone nowhere in the Republican-led Legislature.

The next fiscal year starts Oct. 1, and lawmakers have not finalized a budget due to the impasse over road funding.

Whitmer says "we've got to get serious about negotiating."

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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