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



Budget meeting in progress

Gov. Jim Douglas is meeting legislative leaders as we speak to discuss "a process" for how they might work out an agreement on the 2010 budget and avoid a veto of the budget bill.

Douglas, in an news conference this afternoon, outlined numerous areas of the budget the Legislature passed last week that he finds unacceptable, including a menu of consumption taxes and cuts to a scholarship program.

House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate leader Peter Shumlin, at a separate news conference, said they will urge him not to veto the bill. Failing that, they said, they will ask him to release a new proposed budget of his own.

Douglas said he is prepared to present a new budget package "pretty soon." Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville was flashing a folder with a spread sheet that showed 0 deficits for 2010 and 2011, but what else it shows he wasn't sharing.

_ Terri Hallenbeck

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