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  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
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Politically Thinking: State faces a daunting fiscal future

Posted on May 12, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston recently published data on state and local public finances in the six New England states. Vermont’s combined state and local government spending was $8,500 per capita in fiscal 2007, the most recent year for which comparable data is available for all the New England states. This was the highest per capita expenditure in the region. In the same year, Vermont’s median household income was the second lowest in New England, above only Maine, and 20 to 25 percent below that in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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Politically Thinking: Air fare subsidies a worthwhile cut

Posted on April 14, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



Returning the federal budget to sustainability over the next decade will require a combination of cuts in discretionary spending programs, reforms in entitlement programs and increases in tax revenues. Many elected officials and interest group leaders believe that solidifying the nation’s finances can be accomplished with changes in only one or two of these areas. Democrats want to cut military spending and raise taxes on the wealthy, while Republicans want to cut domestic programs and reduce Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

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Politically Thinking: NRC decision doesn't end VY saga

Posted on March 31, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



Last week’s decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend Vermont Yankee’s operating license for another 20 years does not end the controversy over the future of the plant.

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Politically Thinking: GOP court likely to favor big spenders

Posted on March 17, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



In two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case raising important First Amendment issues about public financing of political campaigns.

The case comes from Arizona. In the 1990s, many Arizona legislators faced civil and criminal charges involving campaign contributions from the gambling industry. In 1998, Arizona’s voters passed a referendum establishing a “Clean Elections” program that provides public funding to candidates for state offices who voluntarily limit the amount of money they raise in private donations.

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Politically Thinking: State economy shifting with times

Posted on January 20, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



Last week, the Legislature’s consulting economist, Tom Kavet, presented his semi-annual revenue forecast and analysis of the Vermont economy to Gov. Shumlin and legislative leaders. Kavet’s reports are important events in Montpelier, because they identify issues that are likely to be on the Legislature’s agenda in the next session.

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Politically Thinking: Left may challenge Shumlin budget

Posted on January 6, 2011 |
By Eric L. Davis



Gov. Shumlin will submit his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 to the Legislature at the end of January. Opposition to Shumlin’s budget may be more intense among progressives than among Republicans.

The Republicans are too weak to be a major force in Montpelier. They hold fewer than one-third of the seats in the House and the Senate. The senior Republican, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, has made it clear that he does not see his role as leading the opposition to Shumlin.

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Politically Thinking: Income tax emerges as a key issue

Posted on December 23, 2010 |
By Eric L. Davis



Fundamental reform of the income tax system may be high on the agendas of both President Obama and Gov.-elect Shumlin in 2011.

Congress has passed the compromise between President Obama and Senate Republicans that will extend Bush-era tax cuts for another two years for all taxpayers. The two-year extension will put tax issues at the center of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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Politically Thinking: Local rail upgrade gets new chance

Posted on December 9, 2010 |
By Eric L. Davis



One of the most important infrastructure projects in Vermont is the upgrade of the western rail corridor from Rutland through Middlebury to Burlington. Improvements to this line would enable passenger rail service to be extended north from Rutland to Burlington. The rebuilt line would also allow more freight to be shipped to and from Vermont by rail rather than by road.

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Politically Thinking: Brandon may lose tie to county

Posted on November 24, 2010 |
By Eric L. Davis



Will Brandon continue to be part of the Addison senate district in 2012? This is probably the question with the greatest local impact as the process of redrawing Vermont’s legislative district lines for the next 10 years begins this winter.

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Politically Thinking: Vermont showcases its liberal colors

Posted on November 11, 2010 |
By Eric L. Davis



As they left the polls last Tuesday, 869 Vermont voters completed an exit poll conducted by a consortium of national news organizations. This poll shows some of the ways in which Vermont differs from most of the nation, and provides some of the reasons why Peter Shumlin was elected governor.

Nationally, President Obama’s approval rating is 45 percent. In Vermont, his approval rating is 60 percent. Only in Obama’s native state of Hawaii — where he has 66 percent support — is the president’s approval higher than in Vermont.

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