Jeb Spaulding

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Doyle honored by former colleagues

MONTPELIER — Former Sen. Bill Doyle was honored on the Senate floor Tuesday by some of his closest colleagues from his 48-year tenure in the body. Doyle, 90, ran for re-election in November for what would have been his 25th term in the Senate. He came in a close fourth-place, however, in the three-seat Washington County district, bringing to a close his illustrious political career that began when he first won in the 1968 election. On Tuesday, Doyle, a Republican, was lauded by a bipartisan group of colleagues as much for his Senate career as he was for his tenure as a professor at Lyndon State College. Two of Doyle’s former students were in the Senate chamber Tuesday as members — and many more have served in the General Assembly during his decades as a professor of government. Continue Reading →

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VSC seeks more state funds, expects little

MONTPELIER — The Vermont State Colleges system is looking for $4 million in state funding for capital projects, a fraction of the $62 million in deferred maintenance across the college system. Thursday afternoon, the VSC Finance and Facilities Committee adopted a resolution to ask the Legislature for the money to make a host of repairs across the five colleges, but the panel expressed skepticism the system will receive anywhere near the amount being requested. “We do this, knowingly,” said committee Chairman Churchill Hindes. “We don’t have starry eyes and unrealistic expectations.”

Hindes and others are skeptical because, for a number of years now, VSC trustees have requested $4 million from the Legislature and each time received $1.4 million. With that track record in mind, college officials say the alternative is to assess fees on students to pay for the most necessary projects. Continue Reading →

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December state revenue report is positive

MONTPELIER —All three of the state’s major funds hit their revenue targets in December, the Shumlin administration announced Tuesday. Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding said the general, transportation and education funds all beat expectations. With the December boost, the transportation and education funds are running slightly ahead of their targets for the year, according to Spaulding. The general fund, beat its December target by $7.6 million, narrowing the the fund’s overall gap this year to $11.1 million below target. “I am encouraged that personal income withholding tax receipts, which are closely associated with wages, exceeded [the] target in December, for the first time this fiscal year. Continue Reading →

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Administration seeks $17 million more in cuts

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration announced Wednesday it is seeking $17 million more in mid-year budget cuts to account for poor revenues. The announcement follows a $31 million rescission in August. Administration officials said Wednesday that the state’s economic recovery is ongoing but revenue has not rebounded as economists had previously predicted. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin forewarned earlier this month that additional budget cuts were likely. “Prudence dictates that our administration take steps without delay to ensure spending does not exceed available revenues,” Jim Reardon, commissioner of Finance and Management, said in a statement Wednesday. Continue Reading →

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Spaulding to leave Shumlin administration

MONTPELIER — Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding was announced Wednesday as the next chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges and will be stepping down from his position in the Shumlin administration. Spaulding will take over as chancellor in January. It was not immediately known when he planned to step away from his administration position. Spaulding, 61, a former state treasurer and state senator from Washington County, has served as Gov. Peter Shumlin’s top administration official since Shumlin took office in January 2011. Shumlin issued a statement Wednesday, calling Spaulding “the ideal person to take the helm of the Vermont State Colleges.”

“Jeb has been a good friend since our first days working together in the Legislature 24 years ago. Continue Reading →

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Republicans break out badges in move to become health care police

House and Senate Republicans have accused Gov. Peter Shumlin of violating state law by failing to tell Vermonters how he plans to pay for single-payer health care. Legislation signed into law by the Democratic governor in 2009 included a provision calling for the recommendation of a single-payer financing mechanism by Jan. 15 of this year. Administration officials say the mandate was rendered unnecessary by a shifting federal landscape that postponed for at least three years any hope of implementing the publicly financed system. Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning, however, said Vermonters are looking answers, not excuses. Continue Reading →

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Cloudy revenue picture pushes back timeline for budget

This year’s budget address will come later than usual. During a debriefing on the budget-adjustment act for members of the media Wednesday, Jeb Spaulding said the governor will wait until after the next revenue forecast to unveil his fiscal year 2014 spending plan. The  updated forecast won’t come until Jan. 23. Spaulding said the budget proposal will be delivered to the Legislature on Jan. Continue Reading →

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State budget talks: Input wanted

State budget talks begin tomorrow, and the state wants your input. A draft copy of the presentation is available here, and an edited press release follows:

The first of two public forums occurs tonight to discuss the state budget process, revenues and expenditures. As required by state legislation, public participation is required in the development of budget goals and general prioritizing and evaluation of spending and revenue initiatives. “We hope to engage the public in a discussion about the goals, opportunities and complexities of putting together the State budget,” Finance & Management Commissioner Jim Reardon said in a statement. “We’ll discuss revenues and expenditures and conduct a budget exercise about priorities for how state funds might be directed.” Continue Reading →

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Less state workers in Waterbury could help reduce project by $19 million

In the governor’s press conference at the Waterbury state office complex last week, the administration showed at least one response the state could use if it doesn’t receive expected funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If needed, $19 million could be saved. On Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said he’ll proceed with the new state hospital rather than wait for FEMA, but he noted the administration doesn’t want to proceed with demolishing buildings at the state office complex until the state knows that doing so won’t jeopardize Vermont’s eligibility for FEMA disaster aid. The new state office complex is expected to cost $125 million. Additional psychiatric beds across the state and the new state hospital in Berlin amount to about $45 million in total. The state has railed against FEMA for suggesting several redevelopment costs would likely be ineligible for aid. Continue Reading →

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