Whitmer, Republicans argue over surplus use

Republican lawmakers are pushing for more tax relief but Governor Gretchen Whitmer claims she doesn't see any more cuts this year – despite the state's budget surplus.

There's a philosophical and political difference between Republicans and Democrats that's as old as the parties themselves: Republicans love to cut taxes to help citizens and the Democrats want to spend more on programs to help those citizens.

As the 2024 legislative session starts in Lansing, the two sides find themselves right at that same disagreement as the state's major bean counters expect additional revenue for the state.

The additional revenue is minus those federal Covid dollars that created a massive surplus in Michigan government for two years.

Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Sarah Lightner, argues that there's enough of the state's revenue to give it back to you.

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"There is a lot less revenue for us to figure out and how to resolve some of those challenges," Lightner said. 

The governor, in a pre-emptive strike, is rejecting that out of hand saying "I don't see any big sweeping changes...on that front." 

The House GOP leader, Matt Hall has been blasting the Democrats for raising taxes in the new year as a temporary income tax rate cut last year -- expired on January 1 because the D's would not extend the break. Hall predicts the governor will raise taxes based on some of the recommendations her population growth commission endorsed.

The Lansing Chair of the Senate Budget Committee reports that everything is on the table but she has not endorsed a tax hike at this read.

"Ya know, everything is part of the negotiations. If something is not working for the public of course we''ll re-assess," Senator Sarah Anthony said.

The governor will lay the groundwork for this traditional inter-party political debate over tax cuts and spending in her budget next month.