Gov. Jennifer Granholm said more budget cuts could be expected next year but that overall, Michigan is on a more solid fiscal footing after the recent, tumultuous legislative sessions that resulted in a series of spending cuts and tax increases to balance the 2007 budget. Speaking of her goals in 2008 at a press conference last week, the governor also said she is “not interested” in raising any more taxes next year, including a gas-tax hike that has been proposed by various business groups. Granholm said the state will likely have to make more budget cuts next year, but the process will not be as difficult as in fiscal 2007, when political quarrelling over cuts and tax increases nearly resulted in a full government shutdown. The budget was balanced with more than $440 million in cuts and $1.3 billion in tax increases.“There’s still some shakeout that has to occur in the manufacturing industry, and 2008 will be a year of transition. This will not be cured overnight,” she said. “We will have to do more cuts and more reforms.”To finance badly needed road repairs across the state, Granholm said she wants to secure a greater portion of federal gas-tax dollars and has also formed a new state task force to study alternative funding solutions. “I think raising a gas tax now is impossible,” she said. “I think we have to look at other ways to fund transportation.” The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association has proposed raising the state’s current 19-cent gas tax by three cents a year over the next three years.
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