"On the '09-'10 budget, we're pretty close," says House Speaker Andy Dillon, (D) Redford.
But with less than 30 days until that budget needs to be finalized, Dillon telling us Tuesday it's the 2010/2011 budget that has things moving so slow.
"All of us want to do a two-year solution, not a one-year solution. That's the challenge before us," he says.
Dillon says the issue is that stimulus dollars-- and stimulus rules-- expire mid-way through the 2010/2011 budget year, so the House, Senate and Governor are trying to come to a middle ground as to what could be cut when that happens.
Right now, stimulus rules prohibit cuts to areas like K-12 funding if the state is to receive funds.
"Right now, the division I see between us now is scholarships-- provinding them going forward, local revenue sharing cuts, and DCH (the Department of Community Health)," Dillon says.
Proposed cuts to Michigan's Promise Scholarships are a big sticking point for Dillon too, he says.
"I can't support zero scholarships," he says, referring to the Senate budget plan that eliminates the scholarship. "The path out is through higher education for citizens."
Dillon says he's open to the idea of pro-rating the scholarships for Michigan college students, reducing them, or giving them on a need-only basis-- for which each family's income would be tested.
Dillon also says it's still unclear if we can pass a budget with all cuts and no tax increases.
"I think this Thursday if we can figure out a way to close the gap on 2010/2011, you'll start seeing progress quickly," he says.
Dillon says it's too early to consider a continuation budget, which would give the state extra time to pass a balanced plan.