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Budget work done in MI legislature

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-970742.mp3

LANSING, MI –
The Michigan Legislature has finished work on the state budget. Lawmakers sent the spending plan to Governor Rick Snyder four months earlier than the constitutional deadline. Republican leaders say this is the earliest the budget has been done since the 1960s.

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In the end the budget was given final approval quickly and quietly. The process lacked all of the long hours and heated floor debate of recent years. Most of that is due to a Republican-dominated House, Senate and executive office with sparse in-fighting.

Democratic state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says the sheer lack of Democratic votes can be frustrating. And she says unilateral Republican control allowed for a budget that does not reflect the needs and wants of people in the state.

"It's a time when these decisions are going to have a palpable impact down the road and so it is, it's frustrating to be cut off at the knees because that these are really meritorious arguments that we're making," she says.

But, Whitmer says, the budget is done and Democrats and Republicans alike will turn their attention to other looming, controversial issues, such as education reform.

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