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Tue September 22, 2009
Vets' budget deal approved by committee
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm's million-dollar cut to veterans groups would be continued in the new fiscal year under a compromise adopted by a House and Senate budget committee.
The organizations help veterans and service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan connect with services and collect benefits. The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and nine other service organizations have already laid off about a dozen people who assist veterans.
Doug Williams is with the Michigan chapter of the American Legion.
"We have to work with less," he says. "We understand that. The state's fiscal problem bleeds over to everybody, so, and cutting back a million dollars is definitely going to hurt us. How much I can't tell you, but I do know veteran in this state who comes to a service organization will go wanting."
Veterans groups will split $1.5 million for the next six months. After that, they will have to submit bids to the state Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and compete for the balance of $1.5 million.