Voices in the week’s news: March 6, 2009

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During Town Meeting week, we saw most of the school budgets pass, the local option tax fail in Essex and Instant Runoff Voting come into play, plans for the Federal stimulus money unfold and the gay marriage bill return to the front burner.

These were some of the voices in the news this week:

With restrained spending, most school budgets pass (3/4)

(Jeff Francis, executive director of the Vermont Superintendents Association) "School budgets were up just a little over 2% which compares very favorably to what was seen in prior years so I think that it’s the closeness of the process – the fact that school boards are in touch with what’s going on in the schools and in the community."

Essex voters reject local option sales tax (3/3)

(Essex selectboard member Linda Myers) "A lot of people were concerned about the fact that IBM had come out against the local option tax. And when you have such a large segment of your population invested in one industry, what that industry says obviously has an effect on how people think."

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss re-elected through instant runoff (3/3)

(Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss) "What I like about IRV is that if no one gets 50%, then immediately you’re able to go to the next round – based on all the same information, based on all 19 debates we had and all the content that was built up within the voters’ minds."

Lawmaker proposes IRV for 2010 gubernatorial election (3/5)

(Republican Party chairman Rob Roper) "I don’t think IRV makes sense in any race. I think that what happened in Burlington on Tuesday was a travesty and I think the will of the voters was circumvented."

First of stimulus money will go to Richmond bridge repair (3/2)

(Congressman Peter Welch) "One of the objectives we had with the federal stimulus money was to waive the state match and local match. Communities are being stretched, our state is being stretched, and if the objective of the stimulus money is to jumpstart the economy, then you really have to waive that state and local match."

Vermont will debate same-sex marriage this year (3/5)

(Senate President Peter Shumlin) "I’m proud of the steps we took in 2000. Though we provided some important legal protections in 2000, we also stopped short of equal rights for many of our neighbors in Vermont."

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