Skubick: State budget rolls into some clouds

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – State economic officials are telling us tonight more revenue is flowing into state coffers than the state expected.

But the total economic picture is clouded by some serious unknowns.

Newly appointed state budget director Al Pscholka says “we’re still improving but we need a long range view, the long range view at least on the state revenue side, we’ve got some concerns.”

State economic officials are reporting Michigan has taken in about $560 million additional dollars that anticipated. That’s the good news.

But the elephant in the room, as Pscholka notes, is the Trump factor.

“I’m in a wait and see posture on that.”

The Snyder administration has no idea where the incoming Trump administration is going to go on the repeal of Obamacare and other cuts that could impact the state budget.

Some 613,000 Michigan residents have health care insurance for the first time and that is at risk according to Democrats.

Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr says “there seems to be a lot of fear and unknowns about where this administration is going to go with the Trump administration.”

Sen. Hertel agrees the Trump administration is the “X Factor” on the state budget.

Pscholka says the governor does not want to end that program. “That would be very difficult to do.”

But conservative Republicans such as Sen. Jack Brandenburg may want that money to gradually eilminate the state income tax.

And the education lobby is not happy about that.

Lansing School Board Peter Spadafore says “rolling back the income tax without a solid replacement sounds like a recipe for disaster when it comes to school funding.

He presents his new state budget next month with a bunch of unknowns hanging over that.

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