Budget Solution?

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Governor Owens is offering up a new plan to solve the state's budget mess as the Democratic-controlled Legislature prepares to meet.

Owens laid out his five-step plan on Monday. It calls for a slight cut in the state income tax rate from 4.6% to 4.5%. It would also allow the state to keep more of the money it would otherwise have to refund under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Owens says allowing the state to keep that $500 million each year would allow the budget to recover from ground lost during the recession following the September 11th terrorist attacks. He says $100 million of that should be set aside for road projects.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon is glad Owens recognizes the state's fiscal woes. But he says Democrats will want to negotiate some more about what kinds of changes to make.

The measures would have to be approved by lawmakers as well as voters.