In Michigan
6:06 pm
Tue March 16, 2010

MI Senate to begin voting on budgets next week

LANSING, MI –

The state Senate is expected to begin voting on budget proposals next week. The proposals assume Republicans will be able approve a pay freeze for all state employees. And Republican leaders have yet to find enough support for that freeze.

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Senate Republican leaders say they don't want to make too many assumptions about cost savings for the budget - such as whether they can approve a measure to raise public employee health insurance premiums, or cut public employee salaries by five percent. But the GOP is making one major assumption in budget negotiations - that they will be able to find enough votes to block a pay raise promised to state workers.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says he can't believe more Democrats aren't on board with the pay freeze.

"It shocks the conscience that we have not rejected that pay increase, as of yet," he says. "And we will continue to go back to it until we are successful in making that happen."

Bishop needs to find three more Democrats to reach a two-thirds majority. But many Democrats have spoken out strongly against cutting anymore from state employees. They say the workers have already made enough concessions.