Vermont Considers Cuts to Balance Budget

Published 08/11 2014 06:25PM

Updated 08/11 2014 06:48PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Vermont lawmakers are considering big budget cuts to help even out the financial books after tax revenue projections for 2015 were too optimistic.

The Joint Fiscal Committee crunched and considered numbers as Jim Reardon, the state's Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management rattled off what cuts were on the table.

“We have to go in areas that may not be the most comfortable to do so,” Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell said.

Campbell is on the committee considering the cuts.

“Did we do what we're supposed to do and what we're charged to do with and that is protect Vermont and all of Vermonters,” Campbell said.

The state came up with $31 million in cuts coming from various state departments.

Of note, a proposed $3.7 million cut from the Department of Children and Families. $1.3 million comes from reducing the Child Development caseload and $2.1 million from Reach Up a program to help reemploy Vermonters.

$108,000 will come from Buildings and General Services by monitoring overtime more closely.

“Why aren't we really dealing with this issue across the board,” Campbell said.

That has prompted a statewide review of overtime management.

Although there are no tax hikes, $2.8 million will be diverted from the property tax relief fund at a cost of a couple dollars per Vermonter. Campbell says it might have to be the sacrifice to protect services for others.

“We're not just talking about giveaways here we're talking about people who have unfortunately found that they're in a very bad time or very bad place,” Campbell said.

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