Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) urged state lawmakers in her state of the state address Feb. 3 to fix a budget process that has twice in the last three years shut down Michigan government.
The two impasses - last year and in 2007 - lasted just a few hours, but Granholm attacked the process as "broken" and called it "a last-minute, crisis-driven disaster."
To end the showdowns, Granholm asked for lawmakers to complete the budget by July 1, three months before the start of the state's next fiscal year. She urged lawmakers to send voters a constitutional amendment that would dock the pay of legislators and the governor if they don't meet the July deadline.
"From here on out, let's make movies in Michigan, and let California make the budget dramas," she said.
Granholm, who is term-limited, spent much of her address talking about the need to diversify Michigan's manufacturing-heavy economy and touting her administration's work toward that goal. She announced plans to expand programs that loan money to small businesses, revive abandoned industrial sites and train workers.
The governor also used her last state of the state address to call on the politically split legislature to end lawmakers' lifetime health benefits, to move new state employees into cheaper health insurance plans and to pass an early retirement package for 46,000 state workers.