(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin says budget cuts under consideration in Congress would slash programs that keep Vermonters warm and healthy.
Shumlin travels to Washington this week for a meeting of the national Governors Association, and he says he’ll encourage fellow governors to resist the proposed cuts.
VPR’s John Dillon has more:
(Dillon) Shumlin ticked off a list of safety-net programs that he says would be devastated by the 2011 budget passed by the U.S. House.
(Shumlin) "We’re talking about nearly 25 percent of Vermont‘s children in the Head Start program under the continuing resolution losing their funding – 25 percent arbitrarily thrown off the program. Community service block grants – there’s a 50 percent reduction proposed there.
That’s a 50 percent reduction or $3.7 million this year alone to our community action agencies that are insulating people’s homes, feeding hungry people, putting folks back to work."
(Dillon) Heating assistance programs would also be cut in half – and funding reduced for women’s health care and child nutrition. Shumlin said the budget takes aim at those who can least afford it.
(Shumlin) "It appears that this Tea Party Congress is bent upon undermining low income people, undermining the economic recovery, to make a political point for our base."
(Dillon) Shumlin said Congress could help balance the federal budget by rolling back the tax cuts for wealthy people that were passed during the Bush Administration. He said Vermont doesn’t have that option.
(Shumlin) If we raise income taxes so that we’re not competitive with neighboring states, we will lose income tax payers in Vermont. If the federal government does it there is no where for them to go. It’s a simple business calculation.
(Dillon) Shumlin said Vermont’s tax rates have already driven wealthy people to states with no income tax, such as Florida and New Hampshire.
But a recent report by the Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission said the data suggests the opposite – that Vermont is gaining more high income people than are leaving the state.
For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.