State budget director is 'optimistic' for tax cut deal with GOP

The governor's budget director is telling FOX 2 that he is making progress with Republicans on crafting a multi-million tax relief package for Michigan taxpayers with a possible deal coming next month.  This might include an income tax rate rollback and the elimination of the senior retirement tax.

"We are having conversations not necessarily negotiations," said Chris Harkins.

That's the governor's budget guy who reveals for the first time that he and key GOP budget players have been talking over the summer and progress toward a multi-million dollar tax relief deal for residents is in the works.

"There is a lot of optimism still here," he said.

Tim Skubik: "So you think you'll have something ready to go in the fall?"

"I remain very optimistic Tim and optimism is not my normal suit," Harkins said.

The governor's budget director notes that he and the two GOP budget chairs, Rep. Tom Albert and Jim Stamas, have a good track record on working deals - and it looks like crafting a multi-million dollar tax cut package is in the works.

"I think it is fair to say we are definitely in the position where we are exchanging ideas,"he said. "I don't know if we've landed on all the commonalities yet to refine those.

"We've been very successful in those conversations in the last several months."

They are not ready to pop the champagne bottles just yet, but if Mr. Harkins is right, they might be putting some bottles in the refrigerator, just in case.