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Legislative Notes for February 14, 2013

February 9, 2013

Another week has passed and things are starting to get busy in the Statehouse.  At least sixty new bills were proposed this week.  Many of them will never be taken up for action but nonetheless there are drafted and assigned to the committee of jurisdiction.  Items such as naming kale as the state vegetable, implementing a one percent tax on all beverages that contain sugar and decriminalizing marijuana to name a few. These three bills will likely get a lot of attention over the next few weeks.

The Governor has decided that this is the year to tackle education reform.  Many agree that we need to make changes to our current education system to get better outcomes for Vermont students.  I agree with the Governor however, I want to insure that we can afford everything that is proposed.  Education spending in Vermont is growing at an unsustainable rate.  I hear from taxpayers on a regular basis about how they can’t afford to pay anymore for state education property taxes.  With that said, I want to help improve our education system but in a manner that Vermonters can afford.  I need to see each of the Governors proposal’s in one package with the total cost and a cost analysis for each proposal.  I cannot vote on these items in a piecemeal manner.  This is why I voted against expanding the free hot lunch program for schools last week.  I think that there is merit to expanding this program but I can’t support it until I see the rest of the proposals and their cost. 

On Thursday guest speaker Mark Friedman spent the day explaining outcome based budgeting.  I found this to be very informative.  This method of budgeting is very similar to the way I have created budgets for my businesses over the years.  I hope that the people who prepare the budget bills are open to this method of preparing the state budget this year.  

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 email 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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