(Host) Budget talks have dominated the first few days of the legislative session in Montpelier. The state faces a projected $150 million deficit in 2011. And now members of the Vermont Legislature say they’ll take a five percent pay cut to help deal with the budget.
House Speaker Shap Smith said legislative leaders agreed to the cut after state employees negotiated a contract with a 3 percent reduction in pay.
(Smith) "It’s a start, it’s a small start. It’s only a $100,000. But we believe that it’s important that we take this step to show people that we are serious about moving forward with the difficult economic budget that we have in front of us."
(Host) The cut means the pay for rank-and-file lawmakers will drop from $636 a week to $604 a week.
House Republicans proposed a similar cut last year, but Democrats shot it down. Now, all three parties are agreeing to it.
Members of the executive branch and the judiciary who make more than $60,000 a year have already agreed to a five percent cut in pay.