Budget Alert: Governor and Legislature planning damaging cuts to state programs and services when other options are available

Our state government put together a list of cuts that targets our poor, our elderly, our children, those with mental illness, and those with disabilities to a far greater degree than the rest of the population.

We at Voices suggest that you contact the governor and members of the legislature and ask them a question like this:

What kind of state have we become that we would force poor and elderly Vermonters to pay $10 million more for prescriptions — or more likely, go without — before we’re willing to close a tax loophole that even the governor said was “grossly unfair.” ?
(the governor suggested closing a loophole in the state’s capital gains tax).

(Feel free to use your own example of a cut; see below for a list of many of them)

The House has passed an extremely austere budget and it was followed Tuesday by news that there is likely to be 25 million dollars less in revenue in the coming fiscal year. So far, our leaders have only considered how they can further cut their way to a balanced budget.

We need to look beyond the particulars of individual programs and demand that our leaders consider a balanced approach that includes finding the revenue needed to meet the basic needs of the state.

Please contact the governor and your own legislators with the strong message:

  • The House-passed budget already contains reductions in spending that will hurt too many Vermonters.
  • Do not cut any additional funds from the 2009 budget – find the money somewhere, such as using some rainy day funds, closing the capital gains loophole and/ or passing a temporary tax increase on those who can afford it.
  • There is already a lot of suffering going on among every-day Vermonters. We are counting on our leaders to step in now, when we need them the most.

To reach the governor, call: locally 828-3333, toll-free 1-800-649-6825 (voice or TTY) or fax 828-3339

To email use the form at http://governor.vermont.gov/contact.html

Your local legislators can be reached at the Statehouse, locally 828-2228, or toll free 1-800-322-5616

To find their email and home contacts follow the links from: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/legdir2.htm

Please send a copy of your email to

the Times Argus letters@timesargus.com

Burlington Free Press letters@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

WCAX channel3@wcax.com

VPR (use form at http://www.vpr.net/inside_vpr/contact_us/ )

Let them know that you contacted the governor and legislators.

List of some of the proposed cuts that affect children:

  1. Dr. Dynasuar premiums increased by 100%
  2. The Child Care subsidy increase in eligibility passed by the House completely wiped out.
  3. A huge decrease in child care subsidies for our most vulnerable families, such as those who need child care as respite, disabled parents or those suffering from mental illness and are not eligible for a subsidy because they are not currently employed.
  4. No funding for Post-Adoption Services, The Coalition of Teen
    Centers, the Parent Child Centers’ Learning Together program, Kids on the Block, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, or the Bright Futures Facilities Fund.
  5. Reduction in the mentoring program.
  6. Eliminating the Building Bright Futures Coordinators throughout the state.