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Tue September 22, 2009
Conference committees: to balance or not to balance
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – State lawmakers failed to meet a self-imposed 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline to have a budget deal finalized. House Speaker Andy Dillon and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop set the deadline for more than a dozen committees hashing out spending agreements for state departments.
Most of the committees postponed their meetings. Some of the toughest budgets deal with controversial issues such as Medicaid and the Michigan Promise college scholarship.
Committee chairs and leaders remained tight-lipped about the negotiations. This is House Speaker Andy Dillon.
"I want to be careful about the process here," he says. "I don't want to disrupt it - it's very delicate right now. They Senate's watching us closely, we're watching them closely. I don't want something in the media to disrupt where we're heading."
Dillon won't say whether the Senate would be willing to discuss revenue options - such as new taxes -- if Democrats and Republicans are unable to reach a budget deal that simply cuts spending.