State budget deadline just weeks away

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With all of the political conversation being dominated by the upcoming election, another deadline looming in Lansing is getting some attention.

The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, meaning a new budget must be done by the end of the month.

There had been much talk about the state being billions in the red because of the loss of taxes due to forced business closings and fewer people working.

But a conference to estimate the state’s resources held last week showed a much better picture than had been expected for this year.

Given the difficulty Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature had last year, State Budget Director Chris Kolb was asked by News 8 how negotiations were going now.

“Obviously, no one wants to be where we were last October. I want to say, knock on wood, that we’ve learned from that experience and so we’ve really stepped up communications back and forth since March. We’ve really been meeting at least biweekly, if not weekly, talking to each other and you saw that progress when we passed a first supplemental bill and we were able to quickly come to an agreement to a balanced FY 20(20). And so, taking those little positive first steps, we hope will play into getting this budget solved before the end of the fiscal year,” he said.

Kolb is optimistic about the 2021 budget, but a lot of uncertainty remains for the 2022 spending plan.

The full conversation with Kolb can be heard at 10 a.m. Sunday on “To The Point.”