Michigan’s state budget has recently been cause for concern as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state lawmakers have continuously disagreed over the issue. Agreeing on the budget, which is supposed to be set in place on Oct. 1, would prevent the partial government shutdown and possibly stop roughly 30,000 state employees from being temporarily laid off.
The state government hasn’t been shut down since 2009, an incident lasting only a total of two hours. Before that, the state government shut down in 2007.
Both times, the cause was an inability to come to an agreement over the state budget, something that has proved somewhat difficult for both the Republican and Democrat parties to compromise on.
If Gov. Whitmer and state lawmakers fail to agree on the state budget and the government does partially shut down, any government functions not deemed necessary will be shut down as well.
Road construction will grind to a halt, welcome centers and rest areas will be closed, all branches of the Secretary of State will shut their doors, state lottery games will not be able to be played and state parks, campgrounds and historical sites will close as well.
In addition to these services, retailers will be unable to order products like alcohol and people will be unable to get hunting or fishing licenses, as hunting season is quickly approaching.
Despite these closures, other services such as prisons, juvenile detention centers, Child Protective Services (CPS), veterans homes, the Michigan State Police and the Mackinac, International and Blue Water bridges will remain open.
Although these effects may not seem like much with the possibility still looming in the near future, they will prove to become more drastic as time wears on, should Gov. Whitmer and state lawmakers fail to come to an agreement by midnight of Oct. 1.
“I think the shutdown is in line with what we have been seeing politically, a lack of consensus and a lack of willingness to work together,” said Libby Flatoff (‘21).
“Honestly, I do believe the shutdown will happen, because they are already preparing for it, warning employees about layoffs and warning the public about deficits.”
Not all people feel this way. “At this point, I think something will be figured out in time,” said Alexia Miller (’20).
“I feel like no matter what is going to happen, there is still going to be a good number of people upset. We all just need to put faith in the situation sometimes. We are human, after all.
“If the budget proposal turns out to be more positive than bad, then that’s great. If it turns out to be a nightmare, then fine. We fix it for the future.” said Miller.
There are some government officials who believe shutting down the government is the only way to come to an agreement. One of these is former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who fought against state Legislature from 2003 to 2011, during a time period in which Michigan had the worst economy since the Great Depression on top of massive deficits. Granholm has gone on record saying that although it might be the only way to get things done, she believes that Gov. Whitmer will get the job done.
“Politics is no longer something to be discussed between politicians, as things like this are becoming more and more common, the public needs to get involved or things will only worsen,” said Flatoff.
Whether or not the state government will actually shut down remains to be seen, but in the meantime, state employees and the public wait to see the outcome and prepare for the worst. Gov. Whitmer and state lawmakers continue to work towards an agreement, and hopefully will do so before Oct. 1.