Two weeks ago, Gov. Peter Shumlin used his inaugural address to lay out his legislative priority: education.
Thursday, he'll stand before the House and Senate again, and explain how the state will pay for reforms as a $50 million-$70 million budget gap looms.
"Exactly what things are going to be cut and the impact on working Vermonters, on low-income Vermonters in particular, are of interest to Progressives," said Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington.
"I'm looking for the governor to show us how we're going to get through this, what we're going to do for the future, so we don't have to raise a bunch of taxes," said Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton.
Wednesday, the state economist told legislators revenue projections are likely too rosy, widening the fiscal gap.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Tim Ashe says it's the fourth straight session where they'll need to do more with less.
"Whether we're looking at the sustainability of our education fund, our transportation revenues, health care financing-- across the board we know that the revenue streams of the past are no longer adequate for the future," said Ashe, D/P-Chittenden.
In his inaugural address, the only funding specifics the governor proposed-- re-routing tax-credit dollars to pay for universal pre-K-- drew mostly negative reviews. Legislators called it a great priority, but disagree with the funding mechanism.
"It'll be hard to decipher everything in just one budget address, but making sure that there's equity across the board, I think, is the overarching goal on all those issues," Ashe said.
Somehow, the governor will need to find a way to balance the budget while coping with a range of expenses from health reform, to a transportation budget on empty. With one day to go, he hasn't offered a glimpse publicly of how he'll get it done.
The House of Representatives did pass a budget amendment to cover a $5 million hole in the current budget Wednesday. That measure now heads to the Senate for debate.
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:31 PM EDT2014-03-12 16:31:08 GMT
Authorities say a tractor-trailer went off the road on Route 3 in Proctor and hit a house on Field Street. Rutland sheriffs tell us it happened around 11:30 a.m. Traffic is being re-routed on a sideMore >>
Authorities say a tractor-trailer went off the road on Route 3 in Proctor and hit a house on Field Street.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-03-12 16:26:24 GMT
The snow has started in Vermont and it isn't expected to stop until Thursday afternoon. And this late-winter blast could rack up the highest snow totals of the season. The storm was already causing trafficMore >>
The snow has started in Vermont and it isn't expected to stop until Thursday afternoon. And this late-winter blast could rack up the highest snow totals of the season.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:40 PM EDT2014-03-12 16:40:30 GMT
Vermont State Police say they caught a woman with more than $40,000 worth of items that she allegedly stole. Donna Ditchkus, 51, now faces charges in a number of burglaries across southern Vermont. SheMore >>
Vermont State Police say they caught a woman with more than $40,000 worth of items that she allegedly stole.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:28 PM EDT2014-03-12 16:28:02 GMT
Fire tore through the top floor of a house in Milton Wednesday morning. Firefighters say flames were pouring from the attic when they arrived at the house on Hobbs Road around 5 a.m. There was one personMore >>
Fire tore through the top floor of a house in Milton Wednesday morning.More >>