So if you are one of the 1,300 elderly Vermonters who receives assistance under the Choices for Care program and you get a letter that starts out "The Vermont Legislature has directed the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living to reduce every Choices for Care program participant's assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living by one hour per week, who would you be upset with?
And if that letter came one month before an election, would that sway your thinking about an incumbent?
Legislative leaders think so and have complained to the Douglas administration about the letter. Why? Because it was the administration that proposed this cut. And it was the administration and the Joint Fiscal Committee that agreed it would be part of the emergency reductions made to the budget because of shrinking revenues.
In our story today, Terri Hallenbeck
quotes Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford
, venting about the blame game. "It makes me furious," she said. Heath suggested it's part of a pattern she's seen with the Douglas administration. (Douglas being a Republican running for re-election against Heath's longtime friend and legislative colleague, Gaye Symington
Blame the Legislature when the news is bad, take the credit when the news it good. She noted that earlier in the week, Douglas was taking credit for providing a $47,000 grant to a software association to help spur this new sector of the Vermont economy when the money was part of the Legislature's budget. Somehow lawmakers didn't get a mention, however, at the presentation.
Jason Gibbs, spokesman for the governor, called the wording of the letter a mistake and said the administration had already apologized to Sen. Susan Bartlett, D-Lamoille
, who heads the Joint Fiscal Committee.
With just over a week to go, everybody is very sensitive. Politicians worry that any little thing could be the factor that changes their races. It's a valid concern, isn't it?
-- Nancy Remsen