Early spending blueprint helps local governments, schools plan
State Rep. Tom Barrett today said he has signed on in support of a House resolution requiring the Michigan Legislature to present a balanced budget to the governor by July 1.
Barrett, of Potterville, said House Joint Resolution X amends the Michigan Constitution to set the July 1 deadline. If legislators fail to produce a balanced budget in time, they forfeit their daily salaries until the governor receives the spending plan.
“For the past seven budget cycles, the Legislature has crafted a balanced budget months in advance of the current Oct. 1 deadline,” Barrett said. “A majority of local governments and school districts finalize their budgets for the coming year in July. This amendment enables them to know exactly how much state money to expect, eliminating the guesswork from their budgets.”
Barrett said the prospect of being docked pay for failure to have a state budget ready on time would prevent last-minute budget approval, a practice in the past that resulted in state government shutdowns.
“Irresponsible delays in the past have temporarily shut down state services and programs,” Barrett said. “I believe the prospect of a financial penalty would be a proper incentive for legislators to produce a budget on time.”
If the resolution is approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate, the measure would be placed on the ballot for voter consideration.
HJR X was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.