The Michigan Legislature recessed this week for the hunting and Thanksgiving break, moving any potential Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget resolution into the first week of December, at the earliest. Central to the debate is the Governor’s constitutional authority to shift money from one program to another using the State Administrative Board.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) had previously come to a compromise through boilerplate language. Late in the negotiations, however, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) indicated that he wants a law put in place to limit the Governor’s ability to use the Administrative Board to reconfigure the budget. Governor Whitmer said she will not cede any authority of her office.
The longer it takes to finalize the budget, the more local governments, police departments, school districts, and rural hospitals will start to feel the effects of the cuts made through the Governor’s line item vetoes and shifting of program funds.
MAFP continues to advocate for restoration of funding for rural hospitals and the MIDOCS program. The inaugural MIDOCS cohort consists of eight residents, three of which are in family medicine residency, that began their training this year. It was anticipated that the program would be expanded in 2020, with six additional residency slots, including three in family medicine. Due to Governor Whitmer’s line item budget vetoes, this expansion has been put on hold until an appropriations agreement between her and the Legislature is finalized. In the meantime, it is MAFP’s understanding that funding remains intact for the inaugural MIDOCS cohort to complete residency training.