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  Vermont Gov. Shumlin says he's found $12 M in savings
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Last EditedCOSDem  Feb 02, 2011 06:02pm
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MediaTV News - Burlington Channel 3 News
News DateThursday, February 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionGov. Peter Shumlin wasted no time tackling the state's biggest problem-- a budget deficit of $150 million.

"It's a big challenge," Shumlin said.

The governor announced a year-long state hiring freeze, saving about $4 million. Any agency head who wants to make a hire has to get it approved and cut the same amount of money they spend on the hire. Workers can also opt to reduce their work week, saving another $2 million.

"The obvious question is why are you announcing this instead of the rest of the budget cuts we have to make? The answer is there are vacancies right now," said Shumlin, D-Vermont. "And we didn't want you to hear it from the rumor mill."

A plan some won't like. Recent reductions in the state work force caused problems after people had to wait weeks to access state services. Twenty-two new state workers just had to be hired. Shumlin admits this new plan won't be without bumps.

"I do not want to be back here next year. We will all be back here next year unless we make very real structural ongoing cuts to the budget," Shumlin said.

But the governor got the state employees union on board after assurance there would be no more layoffs. But he is going to change their health insurance plans. Currently the state covers 80 percent-- the workers 20 percent. If workers wanted more coverage they would pay more. It could save $2 million.
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