State Budget

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On Thursday, Governor Jim Douglas outlined his plan for shrinking the state’s budget by 20 percent to meet falling revenues. Now lawmakers begin the work of debating his proposal, including at least 600 layoffs of state workers, an increase in premiums and copays for some Medicaid programs and reductions in school spending. Bob Kinzel’s guests are Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville and Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Susan Bartlett.

Also in the program, reporter analysis of governor’s budget plan, and reaction to the presidential inauguration throughout the state. Plus, a listen back to some of the voices in the news this week.

You can read the full text of the Governor’s budget address here.


Listener comments:


Dave from Barre:

If our Vermont Gov. just does not get what smoking can do to the
human body, just have him contact the stop smoking program staff at CVMC and they will enlighten him. They have some great pictures of such things as throat cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer. Mention the $$ stopping smoking can save the health care ndustry it seems all to familiar again, that, to cut the state budget we look at cutting a program that costs a couple million a year to run and add it health care costs that will cost 10s of millions to treat. Or maybe the Vt cuts are looking more closly at the possible loss of tax revenue from cigarettes. How ever you look at it, cutting the program is and will be just wrong!! YES I m an Ex – Smoker !!


Rick from Barre:

I am just writing to tell you that the Tobacco Cessation plan the theGovernor is proposing cuts to is should be spared. The progam is very helpful s assisting individuals in kicking a nasty addiction. THe health of
Vermonters is definitely impacted in a positive in manner. I say keep this
program intact.


Lee from Burlington:

Since Gov. Jim Douglas is the highest paid governor in New England, why
doesn’t he take a pay cut down to the level of the average salary for a
governor nationwide or at least in New England?


Lisa from Barre:

I work for the VT Quit Network at CVMC. In the short
time that I have worked for this program I have seen many people achieve
tobacco free lives and improve their health. They are so appreciative of our
services that we give them. The Governor has proposed to cut Tobacco Program
funding by 50%. The Tobacco Control Programs only receives $5.2 million dollars
out of the $40 million from the Master Settlement funds that the state of
Vermont gets each
year. If the funding is cut, the cost of healthcare will increase. This program
currently save VT $4- $5 million dollars in Medicaid costs each year. I
don’t know how they could justify cutting this program since it has
proved to be a successful program. This has also helped Vermont be one of the
healthiest states in the U.S. Cutting the funding for this program will leave
many smokers with no resources to help them quit.



I am concerned about the cuts to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. he Home Access Program which provides home modifications to people with disabilities receives the majority of its money from VHCB. There are 222 people with significant disabilities on a waiting list for home
modifications. By cutting this program, more people with disabilities who
could live independently will end up in nursing homes because their homes
are not accessible. It is more cost effective to build ramps and modify
bathrooms than pay for the cost of nursing homes. The state will end up
paying $60,000 each year for a person to live in a nursing home. The one
time cost for a home modification is approx. $10,000. Dennis from Jeffersonville:Given the sorry state of our transportation system why is the
Department of Transportation spending funds to extend the sidewalks
north and south of Stowe village? Are there not more pressing needs
that should be addressed? The cuts to VHCB will effect many programs, this is only one example.


Alicia from Brookline:

I would like to hear someone adress the massive prescription drug benefit for medicare that the last federal administration passed with the provision that our government not be ableto negotiate lower prices for medication. Seems to me that would drive costs up for our constituents on medicare while the drug companies benefit from premium prices. Would it not benefit, in these tough times, to throw that provision out to give some relief to people who are on fixed incomes. I certainly think that drug companies could afford it.


Galena from Barre:

I don’t understand the proposal to cut 50% of the
tobacco cessation programs monies. This program has met its stride and is
seeing great results at this time. Why would he even consider this?
We are making a difference in people’s lives, families, and health care
costs. The settlement money has been tapped into already by this
administration are there plans to replenish that. We need to keep moving
forward with the Tobacco Program the numbers are coming down people are more
aware of the dangers and seeking assistance to quit this addiction and it is an
addiction, ask any tobacco user.








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