Douglas testifies on economic stimulus package

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas made an unusual appearance before a legislative committee yesterday He asked lawmakers to quickly approve his economic stimulus proposal.

He stood before a large easel and outlined the 15 points of his proposal. The ideas range from additional borrowing for transportation projects, to investing state retirement money in a housing finance program.

(Douglas) "Now these are our ideas, 15 of them that I think will make a difference for our state’s economic future. There may be others. And I certainly welcome them, as my administration does, that may be able to augment these proposals, so we can all work together to make a real difference.”

(Host) Douglas said many of his proposals focus on housing, because he said that’s the area where Vermonters need the most help.

(Douglas) "I really believe that housing has got to be a key element of our efforts to get out of the current economic downturn.”

(Host) A special committee made up of members of the House and Senate will review the administration’s plan. The panel also heard from Senate President Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Gaye Symington.

Shumlin explained the committee’s role.

(Shumlin) "What we hope you’ll do is kick the tires on the governor’s proposal, see what areas there that we should pass, or that we can amend bills that already existed that will help to include his proposals that you feel work.” 

(Host) Both the Douglas Administration and the legislature hope to wrap up their work by early May. Douglas said he thinks that’s enough time for lawmakers to act.

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