Gov. Jim Douglas will present his eighth and final budget request to the Legislature next week. Unfortunately, Vermonters won’t have the information they need to determine whether the governor’s proposal is good or bad, adequate or inadequate.
That’s because Vermont doesn’t prepare annual estimates of the cost of providing the services and programs that it’s currently expected to deliver: a current services budget. Read more
It was good to see this week’s government efficiency report focusing on better outcomes from essential public services. Challenges for Change: Results for Vermonters held out the promise of saving $38 million in fiscal 2011 and nearly twice that much in fiscal 2012—all while delivering “the same or better result.”
If it comes to pass, it will be a welcome change from across-the-board budget-cutting the state has suffered the past two years. Read more
Legislators are wringing their hands over the prospect of closing a $150 million budget gap. It’s a daunting task. But 20 years ago Vermont faced an even bigger challenge. The projected shortfall was more than $150 million when Gov. Richard Snelling was sworn in in January 1991—but that was on a General Fund budget half the size of today’s. Read more
It’s unfortunate, but the recession means that state and local governments have less money to pay for services just as citizens have greater need for those services. And when government cuts services, it isn’t only turning its back on its citizens; it’s also slowing economic recovery. Read more