The start of the new year often brings in a lot of talk of good will. For those in politics, it's talk of bipartisanship.
In Michigan, that spirit is likely to dissolve quickly as the state faces a $1.8 billion budget deficit in the next fiscal year (the state's next fiscal year will start October 1st, 2011).
Peter Luke on MLive.com highlights the discussion beginning to take shape among the leaders in the state legislature.
Republicans pretty much control everything in Lansing now, and the first item they say they plan to cut are salaries and benefits for state employees.
Jase Bolger, the new Speaker in the State House of Representatives, said state employee benefits are definitely on the table if the state is going to close the enormous budget deficit gap:
"There are significant dollars that need to be saved through our compensation models, not just salaries, but the entire compensation."
In his recent piece on the looming budget deficit, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham points out that slashing state employee salaries and benefits only gets them a small percentage of their overall $1.8 billion dollar goal.