House Begins Work On 2012 Budget

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Debate has started on a Vermont state budget for fiscal 2012 that closes what had been a projected deficit of more than $175 million and leaves some human services advocates happier than they were previously.

The House took up the budget late yesterday afternoon and prepared to work into the night. Appropriations Committee members were taking turns briefing fellow lawmakers on various sections of the massive document.

Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed cuts that upset some human services advocates. Services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, for example, were to be cut $11 million, but the budget committee found a way to cut that reduction in half.

The budget gap is being made up with a range of strategies, including $24 million in new and higher taxes.

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