Legislative leaders work to trim budget

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(Host) Vermont’s budget is $30 million out of balance this year.

Senator Susan Bartlett says the situation could be worse next year unless something is done now.

(Bartlett) "It’s really serious and I think people are just beginning – including folks working in state government – how serious this is and why it is important for us to reach these reductions as fast as possible because the longer you delay the harder it is to save the money.”

(Host) Legislative leaders and the Douglas administration have been negotiating budget cuts. The Joint Fiscal Committee will meet on Friday at the Statehouse to review options.

Bartlett says the committee will balance this year’s budget. But she says the full Legislature will have to think about broader spending changes.

(Bartlett) "I think we have reached a point where the next session, there are going to need to be serious policy conversations about what the core missions of each agency are and what we can afford to continue to do and things we may not be able to do for a while.”

(Host) Bartlett says lawmakers and the governor will review the state’s finances again in November to determine if the situation is improving.

She says she worries that the economy is still getting worse and more cuts will be needed just for this year.

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