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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



As the world turns rapidly

Things are moving at lightning speed in the Statehouse. One minute, there is talk of cutting everything, the next it's been restored.

Sens. Peter Shumlin, Susan Bartlett and Jane Kitchel came back from Washington this week feeling pretty good about the stimulus package that's brewing down there. There will be enough federal stimulus money to avoid cutting programs such as VPharm and Reach Up this year ($3 million-plus more will do it). Meanwhile, they said, they will work on making programs more affordable for next year.

Gov. Jim Douglas was dubious today of lawmakers' willingness to make those changes. Some legislators get it, he said, but some don't. Those who don't, he inferred, think you can use federal money to plug holes then resume on course with the leaky ship in 2011.

Shumlin and Bartlett also indicated no way are they going to lay off 600 state workers. It would be bad for the economy, they said, and those workers are going to be needed to put the federal stimulus money to work. Instead of layoffs, they are looking for concessions from the union on hours and such.

Douglas again is dubious. State government has grown too much and needs to shrink, he said. Though he indicated a willingness to talk about the union contract, he also indicated that would not be enough - he wants long-term changes. "We have to make some of these difficult choices," he said.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Seven Days said yesterday that state government grew a lot mainly because of Douglas and his appointments. Something like half the growth was Douglas being Douglas.

Be like Snelling and start cutting at the top if that's the approach you're married to Jim. But that would mean you'd have to back up your "we've got to make government sustainable" BS, wouldn't it?
a lot of the jobs that Douglas wants to cut are federally funded and won't reduce the state budget at all.
Perhaps you or Seven Days could produce a list of Douglas's "new" state jobs that didn't exist under Dean?
Starting with the 8 new PR people who serve him?
1) The Administration office has seen a large number of new senior staff making lots of money.

2) Actually, if you total the salaries of the Gov appted officials in the Dean vs Douglas administration you will clearly find an increase of much higher than inflation.

3) The Governor's reorg of Agency of Human Services added a huge number of senior management.

4) PR people under many different titles - Dean had about 3-4, DOuglas has more like 14-15.

5) In fairness to Douglas, 350 new employees were added when Springfield correctional facility opened - but they are new.
Is Jim Reardon a leprechaun? That guy must have a Napoleon complex.
grow up
What justifies Douglas making more than the governors of Massachusetts and Florida and as much as the governors of Ohio and Washington?
Does Douglas set his own salary?
He doesn't offer a decrease in his budget. But that doesn't answer the question. What justifies the salary?
Why shouldn't it be cut? Let's start at the top with the sacrifices for a change.
Tell you what - you leftie pinheads control the legislature in Vermont- so why don't you have your reps just cut the guv's salary?

Case closed.
Get rid of the state employees union!
Shumlin and Bartlett - i guess Shumlin is replacing Shap with Bartlett in the press.
Shumlin WILL throw Shap Smith under the bus.
"Shumlin WILL throw Shap Smith under the bus."

He might try -- just like he did with Symington. But he won't succeed, because Shap is way savvier than Symington.
Thats what you think....
Imagine - roughly 51 years of ineptitude, demagoguery, and oral diarrhea produced by those twin "statesmen" Bernie and Pat! Accomplishments? Well, Pat has been thrown off the Senate Foreign Relations committee by his OWN party for leaking classified info, but then again DID appear in a Batman film and has had drinks with Norman Lear and Bill Moyer. Bernie is famous for addressing empty House galleries with inane rants against "the rich". And these are the two "Profiles in Courage" jw thinks are going to save Vermont?
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