Budget, Jobs, Vermont Yankee Top Legislative Agenda

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Vermont lawmakers are returning to Montpelier for the second half of their two-year term, with filling an estimated $150 million budget hole, jump-starting job creation and resolving the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant tops on legislative leaders’ agenda.

House Speaker Shap Smith says the state faces its toughest budget situation in two decades, a problem that will force a number of lawmakers out of their comfort zones.

Senate President Peter Shumlin says the state needs to resolve its budget problems without raising taxes, and needs to step up its efforts to promote job protection.

Lawmakers are also being asked to vote on whether Vermont Yankee should continue operating after its current license expires in 2012.

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