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Lawmakers try to avert trooper layoffs, balance budget

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI – State lawmakers are trying to come up with a plan to avoid laying off 104 Michigan State Police troopers next month. The layoffs were approved last month by House and Senate budget committees in response to a fiscal crisis.

House and Senate leaders are scrambling to find alternate funding sources for some other way to avert the layoffs.

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop blasted the trooper cuts. He says the governor is trying to elevate the level of the budget crisis: "In my opinion, it's pure politics. It's a way to signal to the world that we've lost our mind, that somehow are priorities are lost and we're not focused on law enforcement, and we are."

Bishop says the State Police should find some way to absorb a spending cut without laying off troopers who were hired less than a year ago. It's already cost the state $8 million to train the troopers, and almost $2 million is needed to keep them on the job.

Governor Granholm's spokeswoman says Bishop is being hypocritical because he and other legislative leaders agreed to the budget deal that includes trooper layoffs.

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