Granholm Signals New Plan to Balance Budget

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Gov. Jennifer Granholm notified lawmakers Friday that she will submit another plan next week making cuts to help balance this year's $900 million budget deficit.

"I expect all parties to meet to resolve this fiscal crisis," the Democratic governor wrote in a letter to legislators. "I am open to any and all options."

Granholm plans to meet Monday morning with House and Senate leaders and propose another executive order Thursday before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

Senate Republicans last month rejected Granholm's initial executive order of spending cuts and accounting changes because her overall plan also relied on raising taxes. The centerpiece of Granholm's plan to generate more revenue is a new 2 percent tax on services such as haircuts, movie tickets and legal work.

Republicans say more spending can be cut to eliminate the shortfall, but they haven't made their suggestions public.

Also Friday, Attorney General Mike Cox said he's laying off 22 legal secretaries and clerical staff next month because of the state's budget deficit. His office also will leave vacant eight attorney positions. The announcement came after the State Police earlier this week notified about 30 troopers that they would lose their jobs next month, the first trooper layoffs since 1980.

"We're acting now in order to save having to make more layoffs later," said Cox spokesman Rusty Hills. "The longer we wait, the worse the budget situation gets. It's tough. These are all good people."

The attorney general's office employs about 300 attorneys and 200 support staff.

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