State officials made the first steps toward figuring out the next budget. Friday was the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference in Lansing.
Economists and numbers wonks gathered to explain to lawmakers and state officials how much money they predict will be available for the state budget.
Chris Kolb is the state’s budget director. He said the amount of money available is similar to recent years. He said that complicates things because the state’s needs are different than when he came to Lansing about two decades ago.
“What are our needs. What are our costs, how are those changed in 20 years? And that’s the reality. So we have to look at that not only this year but going forward. The numbers don’t increase much.”
Economists from the University of Michigan were also at the conference. They claimed cuts at General Motors could eventually cost 16-thousand Michiganders their jobs.
Last year the company said it could possibly lay off thousands of workers. The economists’ prediction includes ripple effects from those cuts.
Gabriel Ehrlich is an economic forecaster for the University of Michigan. He said many of the cuts to white-collar employees could happen in Michigan. But because Michigan’s economic recovery is so high, the cuts won’t have as strong of a ripple effect.
“Because the economy and especially the labor market is strong right now. So with low unemployment, we’re estimating that it’s going to be easier for some of the folks who lose their jobs to find new work than it might be in a weaker labor market.”
All of this information will help Governor Gretchen Whitmer as she gets ready to prepare her first budget proposal.