Racine Hopes Painful Human Service Cuts Can Be Avoided

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(Host)  When Governor Peter Shumlin laid out his budget plan last week, it included $44 million in potential cuts to the Agency of Human Services.

Agency Secretary Doug Racine says he’s hopeful that any cuts in crucial services can be avoided. 

He says the administration is working with human service providers to look for savings in administrative costs and other efficiencies.

(Racine) "We’re going to ask them what services they’re providing, and do their own triage. And say, ‘okay, here are the things that would really hurt Vermonters, and we’re going to avoid those. But here’s some things that perhaps we can do a little bit less, and people will still be able to get by.’"

(Host) Julie Tessler heads the Vermont Council of Developmental and Health Services – an umbrella group that represents 16 service providers in the state.

She says her group worked with the administration recently to find new administrative efficiencies…

(Tessler) "Our work over the summer reduced some of the burden of those efforts – the documentation, the paperwork – but we found it didn’t allow us to provide more direct services."

(Host) Tessler says cuts to the budgets of mental health service providers will mean cuts to mental health services.

Racine says there were no good options in proposing these budget cuts, and he says the administration is open to suggestions for better ways to implement budget cuts.

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