Budget Close, But Not Quite There

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Public universities are about to receive a 2.8 percent funding cut; that's the outcome of the higher education budget, one of five budgets that have been standing in the way of a completed spending plan.

"In this case, we're closer than we were in previous years. That's good," says Sen. Majority Leader Mike Bishop, (R) Rochester.

Bishop tells us the transportation and human services budgets are the main hold-ups.

"Those two budgets command a lot of our general fund-- so we've got to be very careful about the way we handle this," Bishop says.

Governor Jennifer Granholm spoke with us about the budget from New York City.

"Every year, asking the legislature to cut more in very difficult. It's difficult forcing them to vote for things they don't want to vote for," the Governor says.

While the house and senate may be trying to quickly go through the remaining budgets, there's still memory lingering of previous years where they've missed or nearly missed the budget deadline. The question is: What will happen this year?

"I think we'll probably go into tomorrow yet-- but the budget will be completed without any problem before Oct. 1," says Rep. Rick Jones, (R) Grand Ledge.

But Jones says it's time to re-evaluate how lawmakers approach the budget.

"My goal all year was to have it done by July 1. If it's not, then no legislator gets paid-- no Governor, no Lt. Governor gets paid until it's done," he says.

Rep. Barb Byrum, (D) Onondaga, agrees, saying she'd like to see pay docked for every day the budget deadline is missed. And though that likely won't happen this year, Byrum isn't pleased.

"We've again waited until the last hour, in my mind," she says.

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