State faces $17 million in new budget requests

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(Host) Vermont lawmakers will need to add $17 million to this year’s budget in order to deal with unexpected increases in the cost of state government.

The Douglas administration says the state has revenues available to cover the added expenses.

Today, lawmakers worked through the details of the budget adjustment act.

One big budget item is the ongoing cost of state police drug investigations.

Budget and Finance Commissioner James Reardon said police need another $1 million dollars to cover unanticipated overtime linked to drug task force operations.

(Reardon) "We continue to have tremendous pressure on that budget related to drug enforcement. We have a serious drug problem in this state and there are costs associated with trying to rectify that.”

(Host) The state also needs to spend an additional $3.5 million to cover the cost of the new Catamount health program.

The money is needed because the federal government will not provide Medicaid funds for those who make up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

Instead, the feds will only cover people who have incomes of up to 200% of the poverty line.

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