Northern Michigan’s News Leader went one-on-one Tuesday with Governor Gretchen Whitmer less than 24 hours after she signed a historic state budget into law.
The nearly $82 billion budget is the largest in state history.
Tuesday, the governor brushed off any criticism over the budget’s size.
“I think that it’s also important to note that we’ve been really fiscally responsible. We paid down billions in debt since I’ve become governor. We have amassed a $2 billion rainy day fund. So in the event we see bubbles in the in the economy going forward, that we’ve got some security. We also have created a rainy day fund for schools,” said Whitmer.
The budget throws millions of dollars at what is arguably one of the most pressing needs in northern Michigan, affordable housing.
“We just don’t have enough housing stock. We just don’t. And it’s not unique to Michigan. It is a problem all across the country. I think we’ve got to continue doing what we have started to do. This is not a one off. It cannot stop with one budget. This has got to be a sustained effort to build up housing. It’s going to take a while to get the housing stock that we need to support the population growth that we all want to see here in Michigan,” explained Whitmer.
Tuesday was also our first chance to ask the governor about Monday’s supreme court ruling on Michigan’s 2019 auto insurance reform, saying changes that kicked in after the law took effect, don’t apply to those catastrophically injured before the law was signed.
“I think there’s a lot of work being done in Lansing right now to understand the purview and all of the ramifications from this decision. That’s really important. I am pleased that anyone who had a vested interest and was injured will now realize the real benefit of that. It was paid for. It is expected. And we will, as we figure out all of the ramifications of this decision, we’ll plot a path forward and perhaps that would might require legislation,” said Whitmer.
As for any legislative action in Lansing, the house and senate are both on summer break until Aug. 22.