State Cuts Save Some Social Programs, Cut Medical Needs

Published 08/13 2014 06:15PM

Updated 08/13 2014 06:32PM

 MONTPELIER, Vt. – The state budget was brought back into balance Wednesday as the Joint Fiscal Committee approved $31 million in cuts. The cuts were announced by the Shumlin administration after tax revenue projections were found to be overly optimistic.

The cuts were aimed across all areas of state government but several social programs were also under threat of losing funding.

Jeetan Khadka helps build a bridge for refugee kids looking for a different life in America.

“They have no idea there's a beautiful world out there,” Khadka said.

Khadka came to Burlington from Nepal in 2008 and now works for Youth in Transition, an organization targeting 18-25 year olds mainly from other countries.

Spectrum Youth and Family Services’ Director Mark Redmond says Youth in Transition has made a profound impact on the kids it serves.

“Decreases in opiate use, decreases in aggression, decreases in bullying,” Redmond said.

In Montpelier Wednesday the Joint Fiscal Committee considered cutting $300,000 in state funding from the program, meaning Khadka might lose his job.

By the end of the day the committee only cut $30,000.

However other agencies felt the impact of the $31 million in cuts approved Wednesday, especially the medical community.

“It's money the legislature agonized over,” State Rep. David Sharpe said.

Sharpe was unhappy to see a 1.6 percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement for medical providers cut. The state will now save several million dollars by eliminating that increase.

Governor Peter Shumlin says the state needs to do a better job of reimbursing medical providers. The cuts offered up by his administration are an admitted set back.

“All of our providers will continue to struggle in a system that doesn't pay them fairly and we want to try and fix that,” Shumlin said.

Members of the Joint Fiscal Committee say they plan on revisiting the reimbursement issue in January.

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