January 7, 2004 – News at a glance

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Interview: Implication of governor’s tax proposals
The talk of Tuesday’s state of the state address by Governor Jim Douglas was taxes – specifically the governor’s surprising announcement of a plan to cut both personal and corporate income taxes in Vermont, while collecting the same amount of money under the current law. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Tom Pelham, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Taxes. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Impact of corporate tax proposal on IBM unknown
Governor Jim Douglas says he’s not sure how his new tax equity proposal will affect IBM, the state’s largest private sector employer. (VPR)

Douglas announces tax cuts in State of State Address
Governor Jim Douglas unveiled a tax reform package on Tuesday that’s designed to reduce income tax burdens for most Vermonters. The plan also increases tax burdens for many multi-state corporations that operate businesses in Vermont. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Democrats respond to governor’s address
Governor Jim Douglas’ plan to lower income tax rates caught many Democrats by surprise. They were generally supportive of the idea, but wanted to learn more of the details. But Democrats had criticism for what they said was Douglas’s failure to propose any major plan to extend health coverage or to lower the cost of health care. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Gavin Group recommends policy changes to Diocese
Vermont’s Roman Catholic diocese is complying with a new program designed to deal with sexual abuse allegations against priests. (AP)

Tax cut proposal
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas is proposing some major changes in state tax policy. In his State of the State address on Tuesday, he proposed reducing tax rates for both the personal and corporate income taxes. But he also called for closing some loopholes and eliminating an exemption. (AP)

Legislature reconvenes
Dozens of new bills were on desks when Vermont lawmakers returned to the Statehouse on Tuesday. Lawmakers have spent the months since the end of their 2003 session working on new proposals. Representative Patricia O’Donnell has introduced a bill that would create a state agency charged with providing universal access to health care. (AP)

Dean on religion
Presidential candidate Howard Dean discussed his feelings about religion last night with reporters on his campaign bus. He says the one public policy decision that was affected by his religious beliefs was his signing of a bill as governor of Vermont granting gay couples the same legal rights as married couples. He explained that his view of Christianity is to reach out to people who have been left behind. (AP)

Judy Dean’s campaign role
Howard Dean says the public will get to see his wife as his campaign progresses – but he will not force her to become a “prop on the campaign trail.” He told reporters on a campaign bus in Tuesday in Iowa that if he wins the Democratic nomination, his wife Judy will remain focused on her medical career and caring for their teenage son still living at home. (AP)

Flanagan to run for Senate
Former Vermont state Auditor Ed Flanagan is planning to run for a seat in the state Senate this year. Flanagan has been out of office since early 2001 after losing his bid to oust U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords. Flanagan, a Democrat who would represent Chittenden County, says he was asked by Senators Susan Bartlett and Peter Welch to get into the race. (AP)

Diocese reporting policy
Vermont’s Roman Catholic diocese is complying with a new program designed to deal with sexual abuse allegations against priests. The diocese released a report on Tuesday commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops outlining the church’s response to the reports of sexual abuse from churches across the country. (AP)

Physician-assisted suicide
The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is opposing legislation that would legalize physician-assisted suicide. Director Peter Youngbaer says such legislation could create an environment in which people could be encouraged to end their lives. (AP)

School wind turbine
School officials in Addison say a plan to build a wind turbine at the Addison Central School is likely to get approval soon from the state. The school recently got a $35,000 federal grant to pay for an 80-foot tower, wind turbine and wind-measuring equipment on its grounds. (AP)

Richford heating plant
Vermont Electric Co-op and a Montpelier nonprofit group are paying for a study of a wood-fired heat and power plant in Richford. The plant would generate electric power and supply heat to the town through hot water pipes. The fuel would be provided by wood chips from local forests. (AP)

Williamson Publishing sold
A Charlotte publisher of educational books has a new owner. Williamson Publishing was sold to Carmel, New York-based Guideposts, a not-for-profit publisher of inspirational books and magazines. The sale cost 10 Williamson employees their jobs. (AP)

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