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Bipartisan panel to meet on budget

Six members from both parties and houses will be meeting starting Wednesday (March 7) to work out a compromise on plugging the hole in the current year's budget. The group has set a March 15 deadline for their report, which is also the date by which Governor Granholm wants a budget agreement passed. Republicans have objected to the Governor's tying together solutions for the current and next fiscal years, because they feel it artificially builds pressure to increase taxes. The executive budget proposals are linked because new taxes help plug the current year's hole (including the school aid shortfall) and help support the budget - including an increase in K-12 funding - in fiscal 2008. The report of this bipartisan group will be the first indication we have of the sort of measures the Republican-controlled Senate is willing to contemplate.

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