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Michigan Shutdown Unlikely State's Preparing

Michigan Shutdown Unlikely State's Preparing

Dawson Bell | The Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix

September 29, 2009

Michigan state government operations are being prepared for a partial shutdown Thursday — one that almost everyone in Lansing agrees will not take place.

Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, declined Monday to discuss plans for shutting down operations if the governor and Legislature haven’t reached an agreement by midnight Wednesday on spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

Doing so “would fuel needless speculation,” she said.

The administration and top lawmakers have said they expect to have a deal by Wednesday or to pass a continuation budget to avoid a shutdown.

That doesn’t mean contingency planning for shutting down all but essential operations isn’t well under way. In 2007, the state was technically out of business for a few hours. But that was long enough to sow confusion, as campers complained about being told to pull up stakes and the Detroit casinos sued to stay open (with or without state oversight).

Budget race comes down to the wire

Having reached their limit of false starts, Michigan legislators are to reconvene this morning for another stab at resolving the state’s budget crisis.

Leaders from all sides said Monday they expect to meet Thursday’s Oct. 1 deadline for enacting a 2009-10 budget.

But precisely how they plan to do so in a little more than 36 hours remains to be seen.

Several sources told the Free Press on Monday that House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, had agreed to use additional federal stimulus money to fill some of the gaps that have delayed action since early summer.

Committee hearings are scheduled for early today to address most of the outstanding issues — including state aid to cities and townships and the Medicaid budget. Opposition to cuts in those areas has been stiff. Defenders of the programs said cuts would jeopardize critical services for poor people and take police officers and firefighters off the streets.

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