Shumlin seeks budget cuts as growth revenue drops - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : news : regional November 24, 2015

Shumlin seeks budget cuts as growth revenue drops

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday that Vermont's projected revenue growth is shrinking, and he is asking most state agency and department heads to recommend budget cuts of 4 percent.

Shumlin spoke to reporters before a meeting of the Emergency Board, a panel that also includes the chairs of the Legislature's four money committees. The forecast for revenue growth for fiscal 2015 compared to the previous year was to shrink from a rate of 4.8 percent to 3 percent.

Shumlin said the budget cuts wouldn't touch debt repayments, contributions to public employee retirement funds and the annual transfer from the general fund to the education fund.

That last category directly affects property taxes paid to support Vermont's public schools.

When sharing the news with his Cabinet late Wednesday, "I said that we will not shift any of this to hardworking property taxpayers who already find that their property taxes are high enough," Shumlin told reporters.

Overall, Shumlin called the $31 million he is seeking in cuts a minor adjustment in a nearly $1.4 billion general fund budget, which was approved by the Legislature in the spring.

"This really is no different than when a family thinks they have a raise coming, they get a raise, but the raise is a little smaller than they had projected," the governor said.

He said he had asked for recommendations for budget cuts from agency and department heads by Aug. 1. The resulting plan will be submitted to the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee, which can approve such changes when the full Legislature is not in session.

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