Senate GOP kills executive order

15 February — According to press reports, the Republican majority on the Senate Appropriations committee has rejected Gov. Granholm’s executive order proposing limited budget cuts. Republican Senators objected to the fact that the Governor’s plan depended on new taxes to make up much of the shortfall in revenue. The defeat of the executive order also leaves school funding in limbo.

When projected revenues are expected to fall short of the amounts assumed when the state budget was prepared, the Governor is required by law to issue an executive order bringing spending in line with the reduced revenue estimates. The executive order must be approved by the House and Senate Appropriations committees.

Republican Senators promise to propose their own measures shortly, and they indicate that they will demand much more significant cuts in state spending. The Republican leadership insists that new taxes be considered as an absolutely last resort. The House Appropriations committee had already approved the measure, but the Senate action killed the proposal. The Governor has thirty days to develop a new proposal.

Since the Governor’s proposal to fill the school funding gap this year, and increase school spending next year, depends on tax measures linked to her overall budget, the Senate committee’s move puts education funding in doubt. Press reports indicate that the Republican lawmakers are not promising to prevent cuts in school spending this year.