Skubick: State budget stalls as Governor and Legislature square off

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The governor and two Republican legislative leaders have not resolved their dispute over the teacher pension issue.

Now the state budget director is saying those Republican leaders are holding the state budget “hostage” as a result of the impasse on the pension question.

Governor Rick Snyder is proud that for the last six years, he and the Republican legislature have finished the state budget three months ahead of the deadline.

He calls it “going six for six” and up until recently he was hoping that would go seven for seven.

The governor’s budget guy has been excluded from budget talks.

“We have not been involved in any direct negotiations,” says state budget director Al Pscholka. “I would be very concerned about that if it waited till the end of September or early October.”

Mr. Pscholka reports the two Republican leaders have told the governor they won’t send him the budget until and unless he allows the two leaders to force all new teachers to buy a 401K thus keeping them out of the state pension system.

The governor refuses to do that. He’s offered a compromise which the two leaders have rejected.

The budget director thinks the two leaders are holding the budget hostage to get their way on the pension policy question.

“If you want to move ahead on a policy initiative and kind of, I would say, hold the budget a little bit hostage here, it think it was necessary for the legislature to do it and I understand that,” explains Pscholka.

Senator Arlan Meekhof says the pension changes are needed to make sure current teachers continue to receive a pension check.

And Speaker Tom Leonard says the current system is in the red.

But the governor says the Republican plan would cost an additional $17 billion which the state does not have for that.

The two leaders says it’s only about $500 million.

There is no end in sight with lawmakers set to leave town next week.

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