Closed door budget talks could last until September

LANSING, MI – The state's legislative leaders are expected to meet again later this week with Governor Granholm for private budget negotiations.

State Representative George Cushingberry chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He says closed-door meetings with the administration are going so well they are close to making some agreements on the budget.

"Yeah, we could set them immediately," he says. "I've been one of the people slowing it down a little bit. But that's just to get some things on the table. I suspect that we can be through in the middle of September."

Cushingberry says he'd like to find more savings in the state's largest budget - the Department of Community Health - and in the Medicaid program.

But the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says Cushingberry's ideas for healthcare reform have little to do with the progress of the budget talks. He says legislative leaders are working as hard as possible to ensure the budget is done before the October 1 deadline.