(Host) Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle is in Denver this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Clavelle, who runs Vermont’s largest city, says mayors are worried about the fiscal policies of the Bush administration:
(Clavelle) “The biggest issue on the agenda is the economy and you know we’re seeing a huge loss of jobs in cities across this country. You know as I listen to my fellow mayors, I feel real fortunate to be mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where we’re in much better shape than most. Mayors are really struggling to balance their budgets. It’s a combination of a weak national economy, rising homeland security costs as well as cuts in state and federal aid. But the homeland security issues are really big.”
(Host) Clavelle says many mayors have questioned the recent federal tax cuts that lifted tax burdens on upper income people. He says the tax cuts will lead to higher deficits. And at the local level, he says some cities were forced to lay off police and firefighters:
(Clavelle) “It makes absolutely no sense. But most of us realize that this is a very deliberate, conscious effort by the Republican administration to starve local governments and to reduce the size of our government. And we’re not to happy with it, for the most part.”
(Host) The Conference of Mayors also heard from Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. Clavelle introduced the former Vermont governor to the crowd. And he says that Dean’s candidacy is getting a great deal of interest from the mayors.