Furloughs might be avoided in Michigan budget fix


Legislative leaders say they would prefer to avoid furloughs of state employees as they try to balance Michigan's state government budget.

Fiscal analysts from the House, Senate and Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration will make an official estimate of the state's revenues on Friday. They likely will determine the state has a general fund deficit of between $300 million and $500 million for the budget year ending Sept. 30.

Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon says furloughs don't do much to help the budget and that layoffs can result in higher unemployment costs that undermine the savings. Republicans would like to avoid furloughs but say those options may have to be considered.

Lawmakers will consider using additional federal Medicaid or Medicare money to fill part of the hole in the current budget.