Douglas hopeful about revised bailout plan

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(Kinzel) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s hopeful that the passage of the revised bailout plan will help restore consumer confidence and strengthen the Vermont economy.

Speaking on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Douglas said he believes some parts of the state economy were being adversely affected this week after the U.S. House rejected a bail out plan on Monday afternoon.

Douglas says he thinks the new package is a step in the right direction. But he believes a number of Vermonters resent the fact that a bailout plan was needed at all.

(Douglas) “So I believe that this law they’re passing, if it has adequate protections, can make a positive difference, get us out of this hole. But in the end, I think, Vermonters feel that both Wall Street and Washington have let us down."

(Kinzel) Douglas says he blames the Bush administration and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress for supporting efforts to deregulate the financial services industry over the past eight years.

(Douglas) “I think that we were ill-served by, in this case, by both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. We expect our federal government to provide the protections that we need to ensure a secure financial system to stabilize the capital markets."

(Kinzel) The state has had to make roughly $20 million in cuts to this year’s budget because revenues aren’t meeting projections.

Next month, the Joint Fiscal Committee will decide if another downgrade in the state’s revenue forecast will be needed.

Based on preliminary information, Douglas says he doesn’t think it will be necessary to roll back revenue projections at this time.

(Douglas) “So far, for the first quarter of this fiscal year, we’re pretty much on track. But we’re going to meet again in the middle of next month to see how we’re doing. And if we need to make other adjustments we will."

(Kinzel) To date, Vermont hasn’t dipped into its rainy day funds to balance the state budget. Douglas says he hopes it will be possible to continue this trend throughout the 2009 fiscal year.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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