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Legislative Notes for February 3, 2011

February 9, 2011

Tuesday Governor Shumlin gave his budget address.  The Governor addressed a joint assembly of the House and Senate. He outlined the financial crisis the state is currently facing and offered some possible solutions to these shortfalls. The budget deficit is the biggest issue facing our state at this time.  It has been reported to be anywhere from $111 million to $176 million.  It appears that the number depends on who is reporting it and in what context they want the listener to be informed.  The Governor spoke of the financial dilemma the state is facing and offered up some potential solutions and new initiatives.   Some are worth looking into but, others appear to be another case of “smoke and mirrors”.  Many of my concerns are focused around the “smoke and mirrors” stuff and those which directly pertain to the cost of living in our state.  We have seen the state continue to increase spending during this recession at greater than five percent per year. One time federal stimulus dollars were used to balance the budget and without those funds in the future there needs to be a reduction in spending to balance the budget.  In my role as caucus leader I will have many opportunities to share these concerns with the public while looking for alternative solutions.

The rest of my week was filled with meetings.  Meetings with accountants from the Joint Fiscal Office, administration executives and members of our caucus kept me very busy.  I will be spending a considerable amount of time over the next few weeks and months getting a better understanding of how the budget process works at the legislative level.  I want to make sure that I have a thorough understanding of what is going on with Vermont state spending.

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure to host my father Don Sr., my uncle Bill Ryan and friend Gil Rugg for lunch at the Statehouse.  Hosting family, friends and constituents at the Statehouse is one of the things that I enjoy most about serving in the legislature.  If you would like to visit the Statehouse please feel free to contact me to arrange a date and time.

As your representative, I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am very interested in hearing from you. During the session, I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My e-mail address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My web-site address is www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

 

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