VSEA Press Statement On Governor’s Latest Budget Proposal

"Governor Douglas’ latest budget proposal is, in fact, an anti-stimulus plan. VSEA will be urging legislators to reject it.”

Vermont State Employees Association Dismisses Governor’s
Latest Budget Proposal As More Of The Same
            The Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) says it does not see anything new in Governor Douglas’ latest budget proposal that would cause it to be any more palatable to Vermonters than his previously floated proposals.
            “The new budget proposal rolled out yesterday by the Governor is more of the same from an administration that seems hell bent on solving Vermont’s budget crisis by simply cutting, cutting and cutting some more,” said VSEA Director Jes Kraus. “This latest proposal by the Governor puts hundreds more working Vermonters on the unemployment line and places an even greater stress on the public services intended to help vulnerable Vermonters.”
            Kraus chided the Douglas Administration for championing economic development and job creation while at the same time proposing to lay off 440 hard-working Vermonters.
            “When these state employees are laid off, they stop putting money into their local communities, which hurts local business owners,” explained Kraus. “In addition, many laid-off state employees will also fall behind on expenses like mortgage payments or car payments, which also adversely impacts Vermont’s economy. Governor Douglas’ latest budget proposal is, in fact, an anti-stimulus plan. VSEA will be urging legislators to reject it.”
            Kraus urged the Governor to reconsider offering a retirement incentive to state employees who are eligible to retire now, saying it is a far better—and cheaper— alternative to addressing the structural change the Governor says he needs than laying off more state employees.  
            “VSEA is very confused why the Governor would choose lay offs instead of a cost-effective measure like a retirement incentive,” said Kraus. “He gets the structural change he wants, plus he keeps hundreds of Vermonters employed. It’s a win-win solution.”  
            Kraus said that the legislature’s budget proposal achieves a better balance of cuts versus revenue enhancement, which is why VSEA is supporting a veto override.
             “Cuts are never popular, but legislators were at least cognizant of trying to minimize and spread the pain,” said Kraus. “The Governor’s proposal, however, only exacerbates the pain for many Vermonters.”
            Kraus added that VSEA agrees with many advocates and interest groups statewide who are denouncing the latest Douglas budget proposal because it unfairly targets Vermont’s most vulnerable populations, including the elderly, disabled and children with special health needs, all of whom need services most in a troubled economy.