Tyler supports penalty legislationPublished 8:56am Tuesday, October 6, 2009
LANSING – Following the second government shutdown in two years, Dowagiac’s state Rep. Sharon Tyler is supporting bipartisan legislation to penalize lawmakers for failing to complete the state budget on time.
At midnight on Wednesday morning, state government briefly shut down for two hours while lawmakers struggled to get an emergency continuation budget approved by the governor.
A similar situation happened in 2007, when government shut down for four hours.
“One of the reasons I ran for office in the first place is because I was disgusted with how lawmakers handled the budget crisis two years ago, but now it has happened again. Clearly there is something about the process that isn’t working,” said Tyler, R- Niles. “Unless there are real penalties, there is nothing to keep lawmakers from pushing budget negotiations to the last minute to see who will blink first.”
Tyler’s legislation moves the deadline for finishing the budget to July 1, three months before the start of the new fiscal year.
It also docks lawmakers a day’s pay for each day the budget is overdue – a penalty Tyler says will make lawmakers think twice before letting another government shutdown happen in the future.
Meanwhile, lawmakers still only have a grace period that lasts until the end of October to finish the budget.
Tyler said she will continue working to balance the budget without raising taxes: “Our unemployment rate has more than doubled since taxes were raised two years ago. This is absolutely the wrong time to ask families and job providers to pay more.”