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Governor, budget chief say time is growing short to tackle deficit

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network



Governor Granholm says she will outline her plan Wednesday to balance the state budget and distribute a $300 million federal windfall to schools. As the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta reports, the state is facing a budget shortfall pegged at about $300 million dollars.

Robert Emerson is the governor's budget director. He says there's been almost no work done on the budget this summer while lawmakers have been caught up in primary election campaigns.

"July was wasted and most of August has been wasted and it would be nice if people started taking this seriously because the last time I checked we have about seven weeks until the start of the fiscal year," he says.

Emerson says the administration's budget plans will include more spending cuts and revenue options that have yet to be revealed. He says the additional money for schools will have to be used to hire back teachers who were pink-slipped this summer.

He predicts Lansing lawmakers - Republicans and Democrats -- will face the wrath of voters in November if there is no budget and another state government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins October 1.

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