Michigan Senate Republicans Plan Budget Battle

By: Associate Press
By: Associate Press

Senate Republicans said Wednesday they plan to reject part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to balance this year's state budget because her proposal relies on raising taxes.

"For us, it simply misses the mark," said Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester. "We believe that our responsibility is to find savings in government first before we come to the taxpayers."

A GOP-controlled Senate panel on Wednesday planned to vote down the Democratic governor's proposed executive order making cuts in the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. Republicans said they don't necessarily oppose those spending reductions but rather Granholm's proposal to start taxing services such as haircuts, movie tickets and legal fees on June 1.

"Without her (tax) increases, she hasn't balanced the budget," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks.

Republicans didn't specify what further cuts they would make, but acknowledged that not raising taxes could mean mid-year cuts to K-12 school districts across the state.

Sen. Michael Switalski of Roseville, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, criticized the Senate's expected action and called it a missed opportunity to make needed cuts soon.

"The longer we wait, the harder it is for the departments to adjust," he said.

While Republicans control the Senate, Democrats control the House. A House panel on Wednesday could approve Granholm's proposed cuts.

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