Governor vetoes budget for first time in Vt. history

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(Host) Lawmakers return to Montpelier tomorrow for a special session to work on the budget again.

Governor Jim Douglas formally vetoed the budget even though he and Democratic leaders searched for a compromise earlier in the day.

It’s the first time in Vermont history that a governor has vetoed the annual budget.

Douglas complained that the Democrats’ plan raises too many taxes and doesn’t include enough budget cuts.

The Democrats argue that the governor’s budget would dramatically increase property taxes.        

So they’ll try to override the veto, starting first in the House.

Speaker Shap Smith predicted that he’ll have the votes he needs.

(Smith) "I’m comfortable that tomorrow we will have the votes to override. But everything’s always fluid until the last minute. It was the last time we had an override vote."

(Host) Smith says it wasn’t possible to reach a compromise with the governor because of disagreements on critical issues.

(Smith) "I think that there are basic issues that we have not been able to resolve and the question was whether we could back away from those and see if we could deal with them in the future. And I think that we have played around with a number of different scenarios and we haven’t been able to get to a place where we feel comfortable that the approach that we would take would actually solve things for the future in a responsible way."

(Host) The governor says he waited to formally veto the budget because he hoped a compromise could be reached.

(Douglas) "I’ve said from the beginning that my preference is to not have a vote on a veto override, but to work together to come to the middle, to do what Vermonters expect us to do, to find that middle ground that can move our state forward while respecting the different views that the legislators and I have."

(Host) The override vote in the House is expected to be very close and will likely be decided by one or two votes.

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