Raising the Roof

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) has spent several hours as President Obama’s special guest; this state expects to receive about $900 million as details of the G.R.A.F.T. Act payouts to the states trickle into public view. The President and the U.S. Congress expect some of those funds to shore up “revenue shortfalls” in the states.

Vermont has a TWO hundred million dollar deficit looming over the next two budget years so the Democratically controlled legislature has decided to spend THREE hundred million dollars of our portion of the G.R.A.F.T. Act windfall to “stabilize” the budget.

The Speaker of the Vermont House has proposed a three-man oversight committee to assure the money is spent wisely.

Apparently that is not enough. The Democratically controlled legislature decided today to RAISE taxes by $24 million dollars in order to make up for the revenue shortfall.


I think we just fell into Fiddler on the Roof.

“Alms for the poor, alms for the poor,” called Nahum, the beggar.

“Here, Reb Nahum, is one kopek.” Lazar Wolfe gave him the coin.

“One kopek? Last week you gave me two kopeks.”

The butcher shrugged. “I had a bad week.”

“So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?”

Vermonters are having a bad day. The unemployment rate here was 6.4% in December, before the latest round of layoffs at IBM and other Vermont companies. My wife, like so many other American workers, has had her “full time” job cut to just three days per week.

Vermonters are having a bad day but the legislature has voted itself two kopeks.

I have some (small) hope that Vermont will do the right thing on the state budget. After all, a few million is a small enough number that people will notice. I have absolutely no hope that Washington will do the right thing. Congressional action to fix the proposed 1.3 trillion dollar Federal budget comes under rule, It is easier to sell a big lie than a little one.

Watch and learn. The largest Federal budget ever proposed will be bigger when it passes.