Over $550 million to be restored as budget stalemate between governor, GOP clears

After three months of a budget stalemate, the governor is working with state lawmakers to restore over $550 million in cuts to state services, including money for programs supporting children in need and sheriff patrols around the state.  

The bitter and caustic remarks over the budget have given way to words of encouragement for thousands on state residents dependent on state services that the governor vetoed last October.

"We have a bipartisan agreement to move forward together and I'm happy the stalemate we were in has passed," said State Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-Lansing) of the Senate Budget Committee.

"Today's a big day for our institution, but it's an even bigger day for the people of our state of Michigan that we can take the next step and ensure that these vetoes get restored and the funding that was originally intended to help the state is put back in," said State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering).

As a result, $13 million will be sent to local sheriffs departments, which were facing upwards of 200 layoffs without this money.

"We have the secondary road patrols, we have the jail reimbursement, we had the rural hospitals, community isolated schools, hospitals, and public safety," said State Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

In addition, there's $10 million to hire more corrections officers, restoring tuition grants to private college students, $4 million for veteran services, and $5 million to update the parolee tether system.

Although the governor claims she is not giving up any of her power, to many it appears she is by agreeing to give lawmakers the right to veto any changes she makes to future budgets after lawmakers pass it.

The GOP speaker argues lawmakers deserve that authority.

"I think what we've agreed upon is very good for restoring the balance of power," Chatfield said.

Lawmakers will put a ribbon on the budget on Wednesday and then, it's home for the holidays until January 8.