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



Live coverage of gov's budget address

Tomorrow is the day Gov. Jim Douglas unveils his 2010 budget proposal. Vermonters will find out how he proposes to make up for a $150 million decline in revenues.

There will surely be layoffs of state employees, he has said, but how many and where? There will surely be cuts to programs that people consider untouchable, but which ones and how deep will the cuts be?

You can be among the first to find out by tuning in to live video coverage at www.burlingtonfreepress.com at 2 p.m. Thursday.

- Terri Hallenbeck

I'll have a bottle of lube and a tissue ready.
Deb Markowitz for Governor
Think Douglas will man up and admit to his failure to lead and to make decisions since 2002 that could have prevented this mess? Not a chance.
And just where would you old financial wizard have made changes since 2002 to solve the current mess???

Just as I thought- you and Coop are Monday morning quarterbacks at best!
And you're not?
Notice Microsoft is laying off masses of employees because the haves who own stock aren't making enough profit. And just imagine, not in Vermont's hostile business climate! Greed anyone?
Is the session open? Can the public come watch?

With regard to unemployment insurance, I wouldn't have frozen Vermont's wage base at $8,000 for 20 years and missed all the revenue that would have come with increased tax levies.
Of course the public can come and watch. Tends to be crowded.
- TH
But fun
Yea, there is nothing quite as fun as listening to Jim Douglas give a long speach about the state budget.

Bring a can of Red Bull if you want to stay awake.
To anonymous on the unemployment cap- I agree with you that it should have changed gradually over the years- it was set at $8k long before Douglas' time. The rates have been escalating since 2002 so it wasn't completely ignored.
The point was your guy Jim chose to ignore it and not address it. What's his excuse?
Jim Douglas has singled out two groups as teh cause of our ills - 1) Schools and 2) State Workers.

Typical Douglas point a finger at someone else and say "it's their fault"
The fact is that Douglas' proposals for education is nothing more than a shift to local governemnts and more specifically an increase in taxes at the local level.
I love how Douglas glossed over the DMV "fee" increases he wants. Spineless s&^t can't even call it a tax.
oh come on. education spending is totally out of hand. how can costs rise 22% and student enrollment decline at 10%. Everyone needs to share the pain. Everyone. Maybe the time has come to get rid of all of the supervisory unions. what do they do anyway? More administraters. The money needs to be spent on the kids not on each supervisory union
\duplicating services. This is a very small state. Consolidation is the magic word
Consolodation would reduce education costs by less than 3%.

That's hardly going to put a dent in the increases seen recently.
Douglas wants to get involved with the decisions of local school boards then he should put forth some ideas.

Tell us, Governor, what should be cut from the school budgets ????
The teachers union!

Like Obama said - it is not weather it is big or small but does it work. If not get rid of it.
You think that the state should cut funding for the teacher's union?

That won't save much money since the Union isn't paid for by the State of Vermont.
... or the local school budgets.
"Consolodation would reduce education costs by less than 3%.
That's hardly going to put a dent in the increases seen recently."

Then cut the teaching staff in this time of declining enrollment, and cap teacher's salaries. And make the towns that approve budget increases pay into the teacher retirement fund. Currently, it is funded by the state, not by the Ed Fund.
Shumlin for Governor.
Oh, yeah!
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