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



Is budget constitutional?

When Superior Court Judge Dennis Pearson issued his ruling Friday on the state job cuts, he said court procedure obligated him to avoid weighing into the constitutional issues if at all possible.

Thus, those remain unexplored.

At issue is whether the Legislature is over-stepping its authority by requiring the administration to receive approval of the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee it cuts more than 1 percent of the state workforce.

The supplemental bill that the Legislature passed last week lays out some pretty specific details on what that plan can look like:

(d) In the event that the $13,400,000 expenditure reductions are not
achieved as described in subsection (c) of this section, the secretary of
administration shall develop an alternate savings plan for submission to the
legislative joint fiscal committee on or before July 10, 2009. If the secretary’s
alternate savings plan results in reductions in force greater than one percent of
the entire state workforce, meaning all full-time, permanent, classified and
exempt state employees, as measured cumulatively from June 2, 2009, the
alternate savings plan shall not become effective unless approved or deemed
approved by the joint fiscal committee under subsection (g) of this section.
The secretary’s alternate savings plan may include alternatives to position
reductions and shall not be limited to positions already submitted to the
legislature in list development.

There more to it, which you can read HERE (search for the word joint to get there).

Play judge for a bit and you decide. Is the Legislature interfering with the executive branch's powers? To some extent, legislators tell them executive branch what to do all the time. Is this micro-managing or guiding?

- Terri Hallenbeck

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No they are not micro managing - its due diligence on the part of the legislature.

Governor Douglas is on a partisan idealogue conservative mission to destroy gov't as we know it.

For instance, the Educatiuon Commissioner asked the Administration if he could find the money needed rather than the people cuts --- no, he was told the Governor wants bodies!
This has nothing to do with due diligence or prudent oversight. This is payback to the unions that empower this bunch of liberals.

To say that this legislation they enacted looks out for the taxpayer is pure foolishness.
Yes, it's unconstitutional. Yes it's micromanagement. Susan Bartlett and Peter Shumlin want to be Governor - unfortunately, that pesky Constitution is getting in the way right now...
The Governor's budget would have atually raised more taxes (prop taxes) on residents and businesses than the Legislative budget.

The Governor is spinning it that his budget would not have raised taxes as much - but frankly, that's a lie!
My budget is better than your budget. Fact is, both budgets are/were bad which is the only reason there were enough votes for the override.

To answer the other question; yes, it is constitutional. The reason is that the various government organizations are created from legislative acts that get signed into law. The legislature can and does decide the format of some of these organizations within those laws. So it's perfectly acceptable. Of course, Douglas does have the authority to veto these acts, but in this case we had an override.
I'd rule in the favor of the VSEA -Douglas shouldn't be allowed to cut such a large percentage of the workforce without legislative oversight.
Peter Shumlin for Governor!
I have no idea whether this is constitutional. And in any case, the VT Supreme Court will have to tell us the answer. If they don't end up doing it this month, I predict this will come up again in the next fiscal year and get to the Supreme Court then,
I can nt beleive that anyone would not back Douglas with his cuts in Gov't staffing. I saw one person said raise more taxes. You have not even felt the Fed tax barrage that is coming yet. This money we are borrwing right now is only for one year, then What??? We will be deeper in the hole than we are now and the Feds are going to keep us there as well. What are you going to say then?
Cut down on the size of Government
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