Democrats propose elimination of Commerce agency

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(Host) Democratic leaders have proposed eliminating one state agency and combining two others to save money.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith estimate the state could save up to $1.5 million by reorganizing the state’s economic development efforts.

Their idea is to dissolve the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Much of its work would be folded into a new Agency of Labor and Economic Development.

Smith said the state’s economic difficulties require a new approach.

(Smith) “We think that these times actually call for different thinking and creative thinking and a willingness to ask whether the way we are doing things is the way we should be doing them in the future.”

(Host) Shumlin says the current government structure is outdated and reflects a time when Vermonters faced different challenges.

(Shumlin) “The existing government bureaucracy is failing, and we have envisioned a way to do more with less.”

(Host) The plan calls for much of the Commerce Agency’s services to be performed by the Labor Department or private entities. About 35 state jobs would be eliminated under the proposal.

Governor Jim Douglas says he hasn’t seen the proposal but will consider it.

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