In Michigan
5:14 pm
Thu July 30, 2009

Governor, legislative leaders meet on budget

EAST LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm had another meeting Thursday with the Legislature's Republican and Democratic leaders. But it appears little progress was made toward a deal to retire a $1.8 billion shortfall in the budget for the coming fiscal year.

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The governor and Democrats want to save the Michigan Promise college scholarship, and avert big cuts to local governments. Republicans say that requires her to come up with other cuts to balance the budget without raising taxes. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop:

"We're going to have to hunker down through a very difficult time in our state's history, weather this storm, and we'll come out on the other side with a smaller, more-efficient, leaner government," he says.

Robert Emerson is Governor Granholm's budget director. He says there's a long way to go to a deal that would bridge a shortfall that's almost 10% of the current budget.

"The problem is significant, and there are significant differences," he says. "But people are trying to work through it."

The deadline for getting the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Granholm is two months away.