Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst, is quoted in a Detroit News article today about Michigan's budget negotiations and the possibility of a government shutdown if a balanced budget is not passed by midnight tomorrow.

McHugh said powerful state employee unions play a role in the process.

"What that does is makes our politicians incapable of talking about transformational reforms in the way our state does business," McHugh told The News. "It limits the conversation to a simplistic budget cuts vs. tax increase."

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The Legislature faces a self-created $2.8 billion overpsending crisis in the fiscal 2010 budget year that begins Thursday. Gov. Jennifer Granholm and legislators solved a similar overspending crisis in 2007 by passing a $1.4 billion tax hike. Michigan's unemployment rate has more than doubled since then.

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