(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s concerned about the impact that President Bush’s budget cuts will have on key programs in Vermont. The governor says he hopes to work with the state’s congressional delegation to overturn many of the cuts.
The president’s plan eliminates all funding for AMTRAK; it reduces funding for Medicaid; it significantly cuts Homeland Security funds for the state; it reduces money targeted for the clean up of Lake Champlain; and it slashes funds for the Community Development Block Grant program:
(Douglas) “I’m very concerned about them about how they’ll affect many areas of programs in our state. It’s a tough time for the state fiscally as we seek to balance the budget, particularly because of the Medicaid shortfall that we’re projecting. I know it’s a difficult time for the Congress as well, given the large federal deficits that they’re facing, but we need to be sure that the programs on which Vermonters have become reliant are available.”
(Host) Douglas says he would oppose efforts to solve this problem by raising taxes at the federal level. Instead he thinks the president’s plan to reduce the budget deficit should be extended over a larger number of years:
(Douglas) “I think, to be perfectly honest, deficit reduction may not occur as aggressively as the president is proposing it if some of the program cuts are restored.”
(Host) Douglas says he plans to work with a bi-partisan group of governors to urge Congress to restore many of these cuts.