State News

Shumlin lays out $31 million in budget cuts

By Anne Galloway, VTDigger.org

The Shumlin administration proposed $31 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2015 to a panel of lawmakers Monday, Aug. 11.

The reduction in state spending is a response to a revised revenue outlook for the coming year. Most of the $31 million in savings is achieved through cuts to external programs — grants and level-funding Medicaid reimbursements.

A proposal to level-fund Medicaid cuts about $10 million. A projected drop in the caseload at the Department for Children and Families amounts to a spending reduction of about $3.8 million, and will not come at the expense of new social worker positions the administration announced in June.

Smaller bites across state government make up the rest of the $31 million. The administration will not fill vacancies in positions, including a seat on the Superior Court. State employees, however, are untouched by the rescissions, and, according to a Shumlin official, were not interested in reopening their contract to discuss furloughs or salary concessions.

The administration also proposes to rescind a 1 percent increase to appropriations for the University of Vermont, the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and the Vermont State Colleges.

A panel of lawmakers had 72 hours to decide whether to accept the plan. A public hearing was scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Statehouse.

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