Governor, legislative leaders to meet on budget

EAST LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm will meet again Thursday morning with legislative leaders to try to come to an agreement on cuts and spending in the budget for the coming fiscal year.

The governor and the Legislature have two months to finalize a plan that bridges a $1.8 billion spending gap. That's almost 10% of this year's budget.

That leaves a lot of room for the kinds of disagreements that led to a brief government shutdown two years ago, but House Speaker Andy Dillon says the talks are going well.

"You know, we're not as far apart as people think," he said.

Dillon says money for the state's universal college scholarship and for local police and fire are still sticking points in discussions with Republican leaders.

"We have a disagreement with them on Promise scholarships and on the amount of cuts to local revenue sharing," he added.

Other issues include how much to roll back school aid payments, which tax breaks will be reduced or eliminated to raise more money, and how much to rely on federal stimulus funds to balance the budget.