“This budget shows that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional government.” – Gov. Whitmer
LANSING — Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed a $70 billion budget that keeps Michigan fully funded through the next fiscal year. Arriving at her desk with “strong bipartisan approval,” the budget featured appropriations making 105,000 more Michigan children eligible for child care aid and solidifying a wage hike for caregivers in both nursing homes and residences.
Most notably, it reinforced Governor Whitmer’s ongoing commitment to “fix the damn roads” with an additional $229M earmarked for road and environmental infrastructure that will improve or fully replace 100 local bridges, aid local municipalities with future extreme weather preparation, and replace Benton Harbor’s lead water lines.
Meanwhile, MLive managed to ask all 12 of the Republicans vying to replace Whitmer next November to identify what their top policy priority is as they make their case to Michiganders. Not a single one named infrastructure as a top priority, or came close to anything of depth, offering non-answers or culture war dog whistles such as “to make Michigan free again” (Soldano), “critical race theory social-emotional learning” (Kelley), and “to look at life holistically” (Rebandt). New entrant Kevin Rinke went so far as to concede his lack of thought on the matter: “I didn’t give you a priority, whatsoever.”
And James Craig – the only candidate in the bunch that after weeks of avoiding opportunities to disclose how he would tackle improving Michigan’s infrastructure actively refused to consider making it a priority – once again flubbed an opportunity to offer substance on that or any other issue, simply stating, “I always start out talking about leadership.”
MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:
“The Republican candidates for governor have a lot of hyperpartisan criticisms for Governor Whitmer, but every time they get asked what they would do differently or issues they would want to see prioritized instead, they can never seem to come up with a clear answer. Michiganders expect solutions, not political games. That’s why Governor Whitmer has once again worked across the aisle to secure key, multi-million dollar infrastructural investments that will keep our economy going strong and working families first.”