House Upholds Cuts, Gives Initial Approval to Budget

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(Host) The House late Thursday afternoon gave its preliminary approval to a proposed state budget for next year. During the first day of review, House members rejected several efforts to restore funds for various programs.

The major fight in the morning was an effort to add money to the budget of the Governor’s Commission on Women. The House Appropriations Committee recommended cutting roughly $100,000 from the Commission. The committee also removed the independent status of the panel by placing it directly under the supervision of the governor’s office.

Montpelier Representative Warren Kitzmiller said the plan was a serious policy mistake:

(Kitzmiller) “And I want each of you to know this very clearly: no matter how you may try to apologize away the action, you will be voting against women.”

(Host) But Morristown Representative Kathy Voyer said the operations of the Commission would not be hurt by making it part of the executive branch:

(Voyer) “Mr. Speaker, this organization’s mission is to work to find long term solutions to the problems that confront women and their families by increasing educational economic social and health related opportunities. By moving this to the governor’s office does not stop that.”

(Host) The House supported the Appropriations Committee plan by a vote of 79 to 62.

In the afternoon the House defeated a plan to restore funds for the Champlain Flyer commuter rail project in Chittenden County.

The House will continue its review of the budget on Friday.

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