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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

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



Challenges indeed

All the talk about Vermont Yankee this legislative session has taken the $150 million budget gap out of the limelight. The issue will start to peek out from behind the curtains this week.

"Challenges for Change," the method by which the Legislature and the Douglas administration propose to save $38 million through changes in the way government does business, makes its way to the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

The method essentially tells those who are providing the services to figure out how to achieve better outcomes with less money while providing them more leeway to make that happen.

Behind the scenes, plenty of people are scratching their heads over how this will work _ or whether it will work. The best selling point the plan has going for it is that quite of few prominent people have bought into it: legislative leaders, the governor and his under-study, the lieutenant governor, to name a few.

One of them is Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Susan Bartlett, D-Lamoille. She’s one of five Democratic candidates for governor. She sent an e-mail to supporters Sunday talking up the Challenges for Change idea as a key to solving the state’s budget problems and an example of how she does business.

"I find this entire idea really exciting and am looking forward to working with folks over the session to further develop the ideas of developing more challenges for each agency,” Bartlett, the candidate, said.

At least she’s not in it alone.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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The Challenge for Change is little more than a joke! Easy talk without any possibility of success. If Bartlett is building her campaign train on this track she is already on the bridge to nowhere.
Older is right. Challenge for Chump Change is more like it. Wouldn't it be great if one of the dome dwellers would actually speak out against this charade? No. They'll let it go and return home and call it a day while the rest of us have to mop up the aftermath. But Senator Bartlett can use it to prop up what's left of her campaign and Representative McDonald can crow about it all over Washington County in her hobby campaign.
At least Sen. McCormack understands it sounds great on paper but is likely "empty legislation."
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