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



First look at the framework

Legislative leaders laid out a "framework" for their 2010 budget today.

The gist:
- $33 million in new revenues, including $24 in new taxes. Among the tax increases that would be considered - expanding the scope of the sales and use tax, raising income tax, raising rooms and meals taxes.
- Getting $14 million out of state payroll. Senate President Peter Shumlin wouldn't say that means not layoffs, but he said there wouldn't be 600, as Gov. Jim Douglas proposed. They would also look at cutting state contracts.
- Relying on $153 million in stimulus money.

They laid out some changes in the way government runs - nixing the Commerce agency, restructuring public service, etc., but it was not entirely clear on first blush that these would add up to the certain savings they would need.

It's the first look at where legislators are headed. Have at it.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Was Shumlin working the smoke machine while Shap balanced the mirrors at today's press conference?
Gotta love that Shumlin!!!
Shumlin and Smith must live in La-La land. At a time when many Vermonters have taken a 100% cut in pay by being laid-off these two bozos are going to raise taxes! Haven't they heard about the poor economy? Shumlin has a habit of throwing the House Speakers under the bus and it appears it's Smith's turn now.
Dems are being short-sighted, as usual.

There isn't going to be an economy to tax in Vermont at the rate we are going. Instead of taxation, we ought to be thinking of ways of helping entrepreneurs to launch businesses, or at least keep the ones they have already started alive.
Shumlin will eventually throw Shap under the bus - just wait.
Relying on short term federal stimulus money to avoid making necessary structural changes in state government is fundamentally dishonest. Period.
Try telling the Democrats that.
You go SHAP!!!
The Democratic Party in Vermont is such a mess - just look at the Markowitz situation! Secretary of State was a good job for her. The party needs to look elswhere for Governor.
And is VT taking aim at Vermonter's legally earned net take home pay through payroll debit cards in the legislature Economic abuse Development through S-58 on the legislature's calendar? Payroll debit cards?
Reducing income also reduces income tax for the state so there is not that much gain here. Real structural change for the future is needed. It just may mean some people who don't want to work will have to.
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