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4:41 pm
Wed March 10, 2010

Lawmaker says voters may have to settle budget impasse

LANSING, MI – Some Democratic leaders in the Legislature say voters may be asked to resolve a budget impasse at the state Capitol.

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Some Democrats say voters may be willing to approve new taxes if they're convinced the Legislature is sincere about being frugal and finding new ways to save taxpayers money.

State Representative Tim Melton chairs the House Education Committee. He says voters should make the choice between new taxes or a new round of cuts to K-12 education if the Legislature can't make that decision. He says Republicans could vote to put a question on the August ballot without violating a no-new-taxes pledge.

"So, if we do all these reforms and it's not enough to keep schools whole, are we willing to the ballot to let the people of Michigan decide."

Melton says if voters say no, then lawmakers could go back to enact bigger cuts to balance the budget. It would take super-majorities in the House and the Senate to put a question on the August ballot. Republicans say they're not ready to take that step.