Increased Spending Looms Large As Republicans Review Shumlin’s Budget

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(Host) Republican lawmakers say they found some things to like in Governor Peter Shumlin’s budget address. They praised his proposals to reform the state’s environmental permitting process and his call to consolidate school supervisory unions.

But Rutland Senator Peg Flory questioned the overall growth in state spending.

(Flory) "It’s a little disturbing that it’s still up 5.1 percent over last year. I’ve been trying to run quickly through the numbers and I’ve come up with from what he said in the speech another $60 million going into the budget. I haven’t found where that money is coming from."

(Host) The Shumlin Administration is counting on the improving economy to increase state revenues.

But Franklin Senator Randy Brock, Shumlin’s likely GOP opponent in next fall’s election, says the governor has not been strategic in his spending choices.

(Brock) "There’s some things in government you have to do exceptionally well. There are other things that perhaps you may have to decide you don’t do at all. And those are the tough decisions. And we didn’t discuss any of those tough decisions today."

(Host) Brock also faulted the Shumlin Administration for its plans to hire a public relations firm to help market health care reform. He said that amounted to creating a "Division of Propaganda" within the state.

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