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



Public hearings slated

Legislative leaders are planning two public hearings, as you surely read in today's paper, on the governor's new budget proposal.

From the sounds of it, these public hearings have a pre-determined feel about them. Here's how they were described in a letter from the pro tem's office to senators:

"On Wednesday, May 27, the Senate and House Finance and Ways and Means, joined by the Chairs of Senate and House Approps and Education, will hold a public hearing focused on our concerns with the Governor's proposal to lower tax rates for the wealthy and increase Vermonters' property taxes.

"On Thursday, May 28, the Senate and House Appropriation Committees, joined by the Chairs of Finance, Ways and Means, Health Care and Government Operations, will hold a public hearing focused on our concern with the Governor's proposal to make devastating cuts to human services and housing and conservation.

- Terri Hallenbeck

It sounds like they are asking their supporters to be more vocal.
It sounds to ME like they want everyone to focus on the Governor's recent proposal . . . and they do NOT want everyone to focus on the bill they passed!

I say people go prepared to ask questions about both proposals. tough questions!
The pending question is "shall the Legislature pass the budget over the Governor's objections."

The Governor's latest proposal is not up for a vote. The budget the Legislature just passed is. They are using forums on the Governor's latest proposal as a red herring.

If their budget is so gosh-darn awesome, why don't legislators see fit to defend it?
Why doesn't Douglas allow Vermont's legislature to be a part of the discussion re his budget?
Uh, the pending question is not.....

"shall the Legislature pass the budget over the Governor's objections."

They don't vote on objections they vote on vetos. At least you are correct in saying they are not voting on the governor's latest proposal. that's primarily becasue 1. he has not vetoed the actual budget yet and 2. because he has no actual budget bill to show them.

I'm sure the legislature would be glad to override his veto, first in state's history by the way, once the governor does veto the budget.
"Why doesn't Douglas allow Vermont's legislature to be a part of the discussion re his budget?"

This is a dumb question.

Why not give up executivce authority to the legislature?

The Legislatue passed its own irresponsible budget without input from the Gov., but the Gov. is supposed to give up his constitutional authority to write a budget and instead do it by committee with the legislature?

You're joking, right?
You must be kidding ---

"The Legislatue passed its own irresponsible budget without input from the Gov.,"

The Governor proposes his budget 3 weeks after the legislature comes into session - basically putting the leg on hold for the first 3 weeks, then the Douglas adminsitration weighs in and testifies before ALL committees in the legislature re: budget stuff.

In fact, the legislature is not kept as up to date as it should by an administration that holds information close - almost to the point of being secretive!
Wrong! The Legislature spent the first 2/3 of the session exclusively on gay marriage. They weren't interested in the slightest in boring things like, oh, say, the budget. Then, when all the self-congratulatory sh__ is over about gay marriage and they finally decide to pay attention to the fact that we're in the worst crisis since the Great Depression, they write an irresponsible budget that was handed to them by the state employees union. The Legislature is a bunch of children.

You obviously have no clue - 1 committee in the Senate and 1 committee in the House spent about a week on Same Sex Equality and a few hours by both bodies on the floor of each.

There are a total of 25 committees in the Legislature.
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