Shumlin’s First Year

The following as an excerpt from the VT Digger article found here

Senator says Shumlin’s budget priorities are amiss

Though Sen. Anthony Pollina, D/P-Washington, is happy with Shumlin’s single-payer plan, he is disappointed with the governor’s tax and budget policies.

“His economic policy looks a lot like Jim Douglas’ policy,” Pollina said. “We wrote a budget in the Jim Douglas tradition (last year). We cut human services, raised fees (on health care providers) and the administration opposed making the wealthy give up a little of their tax cuts (from the federal government).

“I don’t see what difference is,” Pollina said. “We’re balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class. We’re cutting budgets and letting people get away with tax cuts.”

Pollina said he sees the recession as more than “a little dip in the economy.” In his view, the downturn is a fundamental change in the structure of the economy that will have an ongoing impact on Vermonters.

Shumlin’s insistence on 4 percent across-the-board budget cuts will cause further economic deterioration for families that are already stressed, he said.

“This administration is doing the same old thing,” Pollina said. “They think if you just cut the budget more we’ll be OK. What we need to do is put more money in the pockets of families.”
Pollina said Shumlin administration officials believe they are protecting businesses and the wealthy. “The thing businesses need more than anything else is customers,” he said. The economy won’t rebound, in his view, “until people have money in pockets to pay their bills” and the state addresses the growing disparity between the rich and the poor by restructuring the tax code.

In the meantime, Pollina said, Vermonters need social programs more than ever. He fears that the administration will try to pay for Irene by cutting other programs. “If so, we’re going to cut ourselves into another hole in terms of what it means for average families,” Pollina said.