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Legislative Notes for April 11, 2013

April 5, 2013

The action on the House floor was relatively light this week. However, we did pass the Capital construction bill which will authorize $176 million in state capital construction and major maintenance projects excluding transportation infrastructure over the next two years. The bill includes money for the construction of the new state hospital, the Waterbury office complex, a new State Police Barracks in southern Vermont and many other important projects. The bill also includes final payments to school districts for work that was done several years ago. Until six years ago the state was obligated to pay a large percentage of the total costs of all school construction projects. The states liability grew faster than they could pay so the 2007 legislature established a moratorium on contributions until it could pay off all of its outstanding obligations to schools. We have finally reached that place and I am hopeful that we do not return to the point where the state accepts responsibility for a share of the costs with little or no oversight of the project. The capital bill included many positive elements and because the funds are raised through bonding, there is minimal negative impact on the taxpayers. Therefore, I supported passage of this bill.

Before I cast my vote in the legislature, I always go through the same thoughtful process of evaluating the elements of a bill. Weighing the positive components versus the negative is very difficult and at times leads to an agonizing decision. Unfortunately again this biennium, I have found myself voting “no” more often than not because I just can’t support legislation that increases the cost of living in Vermont. This legislative session, we have passed bills in the House that raise a total of $109.1 million dollars in total new taxes. This will substantially increase what it costs to live and do business here in Vermont.

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 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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