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



Hearings with a side of lunch

There will be posturing on both sides tomorrow as the great budget battle of '09 continues.

Legislators will hold the first of two public hearings, which they have made fairly clear are designed to hear from people who don't like the governor's budget proposal.

Not to be outdone, the governor is holding a series of lunches with Vermont workers, whom he indicates have so far all dissed the Legislature's budget. Wednesday's PB&J exchange is at DEW Construction in Williston.

Lunch comes with a taste of bitterness in the governor's news release:

"As lawmakers begin their Montpelier hearings, Governor Douglas tomorrow will attend his third budget meeting with working Vermonters and small business owners in Williston at DEW Construction Corp. The meetings, which are scheduled at convenient times for working Vermonters, are designed to give workers and employers the opportunity to weigh in on the troubling effects of the Legislature’s recent tax increases.


"While Legislative leaders sit in Montpelier and hear from special interest groups and lobbyists about a budget proposal that isn’t even up for consideration, Governor Douglas is out meeting with working Vermonters, farmers and employers in their communities about the budget proposal that will be taken up at next Tuesday's special session."


"In addition to community meetings, Governor Douglas is also meeting with several legislative Democrats who have reached out with ideas, comments and concerns about our current budget situation."

Does he have their votes?

- Terri Hallenbeck

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If Douglas does not get their votes then the Smith-Shumlin team will have a chance to echo Obama when he stated "we are out of money, we are broke".
What happens then? At least Obama can keep printing money to keep up with his spending but we do not have access to his printing press.
Douglas is dead on when he says it's silly to be holding public hearings "about a budget proposal that isn’t even up for consideration".

The Legislature should be holding public hearings on THEIR budget which THEY passed and over which THEY will have the power to enact it into law or not.

What side dish goes best with red herring?
How is it silly to get public input?
It's silly because the proposal from the Governor is not what the Legislature is voting on. His proposal is not even in bill format.

The Legislature will be voting on whether to pass their budget over the objection (veto) of the Governor.

The chances of the Governor's newest proposal being enacted into law are slim to none. The chances of the Legislature's version being enacted into law are quite high. So shouldn't we be discussing that instead?
The Legislature is merely an arm of the teacher's union, the state employees union, and VPIRG. They are clowns.
But Douglas can travel the state getting getting feedback from Vermonters on the Legislature's budget? (Which he'll veto).

He continues to say "Vermonters keep telling me to hold the line." This Vermonter told him to work with the legislature and lead. No such luck.

He deserves another pie in the face!
"This Vermonter told him to work with the legislature and lead. No such luck."

You are incredibly naive. He could not possibly work with Smith and Shumlin on a budget, since they are totally in the pocket of the unions and VPIRG. There is nothing to begotiate about.
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