State Rep. Mark Ouimet calling on Legislature to switch to a 2-year budget cycle
State Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, said today he's calling on the Michigan Legislature to adopt an immediate two-year budget cycle.
Citing a need to improve efficiency in the way the state handles taxpayer dollars, Ouimet said he is pushing the state House and Senate to voluntarily approve his plan.
A formal budget could be adopted for the current year, while a second projected budget could be created for the second year, he said.
"The haphazard approach to state budgeting where lawmakers are forced to approve accounting gimmicks and short-term fixes to balance the budget must become a thing of the past," Ouimet said in a statement. "It's not efficient, it's not practical, and it's a disservice to our schools and local governments who need to know how much revenue they are receiving."
Ouimet has introduced House Joint Resolution I, which would change the state constitution to require a two-year budget cycle. If the measure is adopted by the Legislature, it would have to be formally approved by Michigan voters as a ballot initiative.
In recent years, the state has been unable to balance its budget until late September, or in some cases, after the Oct. 1 deadline. That has resulted in two government shutdowns, Ouimet noted.
He said local governments and public schools must know how much financial support they're getting from the state by early summer to properly plan their budgets.
Creating a two-year budget cycle has the support of Gov. Rick Snyder, who discussed the issue in his recent State of the State address.
Ouimet has hands-on experience working with two-year budget cycles as a former Washtenaw County commissioner.
"A two-year budget cycle is a more proactive, thoughtful approach that will allow us to use taxpayer dollars more efficiently," Ouimet said. "The greatest chess players will tell you that they think two or three moves ahead, and it's time elected officials in Lansing do the same by taking a more long-term focused approach to state budgeting."