While state officials hope to avoid a government shutdown when Michigan’s fiscal year concludes Oct. 1, state agencies have begun their contingency planning to determine what state functions will operate in that event.
The State Budget Office has created a seven-day and 30-day plan, determining which employees would be required to report for work and who would be laid off during the shutdown. In an SBO draft summary, “critical functions” that would continue under a shutdown were identified, along with functions that will cease.
Still in place
Michigan State Police patrol troopers will continue at full capacity, along with correctional officers in prisons and the parole system. Some functions of the state police, such as investigations and other specialized operations, will continue in a reduced capacity.
Child protective services and additional welfare staff will continue to work. Public assistance plans, like food and disability assistance will continue. Medicaid services will also continue, but health care providers wouldn’t receive payments until a spending plan is in place.
Other emergency response services, like environmental and public health services would continue in a limited capacity. Juvenile justice centers, state psychiatric hospitals, veterans homes and other state-ran 24/7 support centers would continue to be open as well.
The Mackinac, International and Blue Water bridges would be open during a shutdown. The Department of Natural Resources would continue fish production at state hatcheries, and debt service payments would be made.
What would stop
While road funding is one of the larger issues impeding lawmakers in deciding on a budget, ironically, all state road construction would freeze in the event of a shutdown.
Michigan’s public universities and community colleges would not receive student financial aid payments from the state. Additionally, public K-12 districts would not receive their state aid payments either.
Secretary of State offices would be closed, along with most state licensing, inspection, remediation and permitting programs.
Michigan Lottery games would stop, temporarily halting revenue that goes toward the state’s school aid fund.
State revenue sharing, which compensates local government units, would come to a halt under a shutdown.
State parks, like Holland State Park and Grand Haven State Park would also be closed. MDOT welcome centers and rest stops along the interstate highway system would remain closed until the government re-opened.
On Monday, Sept. 16, temporary layoff notices would be granted to state workers, with the condition of being rescinded if a budget deal is reached between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and GOP leadership in the House and Senate. On Sept. 25, the state would inform vendors that it wouldn’t make any payments after midnight on Sept. 30, and on Sept. 27, departments will notify employees who will work throughout the shutdown to report on Oct. 1.
Kurt Weiss, communications director at the SBO, said that the office is planning for a variety of situations. Michigan’s two previous shutdowns, in 2007 and 2009, lasted four and two hours, respectively.
“This is a difficult situation because we’re planning for all the different scenarios,” Weiss said.
Should the state’s lawmakers reach an agreement before Oct. 1, a government shutdown would be avoided.