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Republican leaders skeptical of Whitmer's ability to pay for goals in State of the State

Cheyna Roth

Republican leaders in the state Legislature want to know how Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to pay for several areas she wants to improve.

During her State of the State address, Governor Whitmer said Michigan has a funding crisis for education and she discussed Michigan’s crumbling roads and infrastructure problems, but she didn’t say how the state could pay for improvements.

“I think it’s important to note that the state of Michigan only has the money that we take out of the pockets of the people that we serve,” said Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering). “And if we’re going to increase revenues and provide more services to people it will come from someone’s pocket.”

But Whitmer might have a path forward for new incoming money to fix the state’s roads.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he wants to take other steps before looking for new revenue, like reconsidering the state’s spending priorities. But he said new funding is inevitable.

“I’ll go on the record here, alright?” Shirkey said. “There’s no way we’re going to fix this problem that’s been 50 years in the making without coming up with new revenue for infrastructure.”

Whitmer said she will release more details about how she plans to fund her ideas during her budget proposal presentation in March.