Douglas insists Senate has time for permit reform

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas has sharpened his criticism of the Democratically controlled Senate. The Senate has passed a bill that streamlines local planning and zoning laws. But Democratic Senate leaders say they need more time to consider a House bill that changes the statewide permit process.

The governor says the Senate bill is “permit reform lite.” And he says there’s still time for meaningful permit reform:

(Douglas) “For weeks – on permit reform in particular – we’ve heard ‘there’s no time.’ I’ve kept track of this, it was five weeks ago that the Senate Democrats first said, ‘there’s not time enough for permit reform.’ Of course, it was February 11 when the Senate bill was introduced initially on this topic and they haven’t dealt with it during that time, at least in a serious and comprehensive way. So the time has come to stop the excuses and begin action. There’s plenty of time to accomplish these major goals, if there’s a will to do it.”

(Host) Douglas also faulted the Senate for failing to endorse the education funding law passed by the Republican-controlled House.

(Douglas) “The Senate version provides half the amount of property tax relief as the House bill. I believe that Vermonters are entitled to the $70 million in relief that the House proposed. It’s very important that we alleviate that burden.”

(Host) The governor says lawmakers could wrap up their work by the weekend, if they put their minds to it and passed the key bills that remain.

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