Joint Fiscal Office lowers budget gap projection to $46 million

first_imgby Anne Galloway vtdigger.org The state’s budget shortfall has been nearly cut in half, according to new information from the Joint Fiscal Office, the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal research arm.Steve Klein, the chief fiscal officer for JFO, told the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday that the budget gap, which had been pegged at $74.5 million in November in a consensus forecast with the Shumlin administration, had been revised downward to $46 million.Stephen Klein, chief fiscal officer of the Vermont Legislative Fiscal Office presents budget information to the House Ways and Means Committee. VTD/Josh LarkinKlein said Medicaid costs were $16 million less than expected and assumptions for the budget adjustment (the mid-year true up of the state budget) were $13 million lower than anticipated (in effect, base spending was flat in the first six months of the fiscal year, and the budget adjustment increase was zero).The number of Vermonters who use Medicaid services has declined, and utilization rates have also gone down, Klein told lawmakers. JFO estimated a 6 percent growth rate for the program.Officially, the gap forecast is still $74.5 million until the Shumlin administration confirms the numbers and agrees to consensus figures, Klein said. He called the new shortfall figure of $46 million a ‘placeholder number.’Contributing factors to the gap include:â ¢ $13.6 million use of one-time fundsâ ¢ $19.6 million related to a 1 percent increase in the Medicaid match rateâ ¢ $25 million in additional pension obligations and health care costs for retired teachers and state workersâ ¢ $7 million for technology infrastructure replacementâ ¢ $8 million in transfers, $6 million to the Education Fund and $2 million from reservesâ ¢ $4 million in rest area funding pressureâ ¢ $10 million for autism treatment costsKlein predicted that the governor would delay implementation of the ‘autism mandate,’ a requirement that the state pay for specialized services for young children with the developmental disability. The mandate is projected to cost about $10 million annually. If the postponement occurs, the budget gap projection would drop to $36 million, according to Klein.Klein explained that the budget shortfall projections are now calculated by JFO based on predicted total changes in expenditures rather than a straight percentage based on past budgeting. This shift caused a disconnect last fall between JFO and the administration when the two parties didn’t issue a consensus gap analysis because they had calculated the shortfall differently. JFO based its analysis on a 3.5 percent base increase; the Department of Finance and Management looked at projected pressures reported by departments in state government.The new shortfall number came to light as part of a list of financial issues Klein suggested that House Ways and Means put on its ‘menu’ for the session.The chief fiscal officer told lawmakers that projected revenues for fiscal year 2013 will be $41.6 million higher than the current fiscal year.The new revenue forecast will be presented to the Emergency Board on Jan. 18 ‘ the week after the governor’s budget address. Klein said Shumlin will seek language from the Legislature that will give him the flexibility to salt away unanticipated revenues in reserve funds.At this time, the state has $17 million in the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund, which will be used to cover unanticipated Irene costs; $22 million in the Agency of Human Services caseload reserve fund, which is often used to buy down the state’s Medicaid match; $1.9 million in contingency money for federal cuts to programs; $3.88 million in a one-time setaside that kicks in when revenue forecasts exceed $10 million. The revenue shortfall reserve fund, a new ‘all-purpose’ vehicle for reserve monies funded by the Legislature in the last session, may be reupped this year. The state also has roughly $55 million in the budget stabilization fund.State officials say it’s crucial to have plenty of money available in reserve because of the uncertain economic environment and because Congress, in debt reduction mode, will likely reduce funding for state programs.Other details discussed by the committee included:*A possible sales tax for ‘cloud computing’ revenues;*A review of the cigarette tax, which has generated $2 million over the forecast, despite warnings from grocers and others that a 38 cent hike in the tax would depress sales and send Vermonters to New Hampshire to buy smokes;*A change in the trigger for the Amazon tax for online sales; Rep. Jeff Wilson said he’ll introduce a bill that would mirror an agreement between the giant Internet retailer and California officials that goes into effect in 2013;*December revenues from corporate earnings and business quarterly payments were lower than expected.The draft release of the Picus report on Vermont’s education finance system will be on Wednesday. A public hearing on the report will be held on Jan. 9 via remote interactive television; a final report will be issued on Jan. 18. www.vtdigger.org(link is external) January 4, 2012last_img read more

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Southern Tier school districts facing drastic cuts to funding

first_imgDr. Andrews penned a letter to New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand asking them to help secure funding for schools in the fourth round of the federal stimulus under the CARES Act. He warns without this funding, his district and most others in our area will have no choice but to cut the programming so many people love, in addition to mass layoffs. Windsor Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jason Andrews says his district, along with the majority of other rural districts in the Southern Tier, receive more than half of their budget in the form of state aide. On Wednesday, Dr. Andrews told 12 News that aide is in jeopardy. “When you start looking at that level of cut, then certainly the arts, athletics, electives, class size increases, additional assistance for kids, all sorts of programming,” he explained to 12 News. WINDSOR (WBNG) — If local school districts don’t receive federal funding soon, your children’s education may never look the same. He said when New York passed its budget, state aide remained roughly the same as last year, but due to increased costs because of the coronavirus, the district is facing a $1.9M deficit in its budget. The district has already eliminated nine positions and is down to bare bones operations to meet the deficit. To make matters worse, Dr. Andrews says Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned more cuts could be coming in the future, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of state aide. Even if it’s ‘only’ 20 percent, Dr. Andrews warns this would have drastic impacts on what the district is able to provide. A tweet containing the letter is posted below:last_img read more

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Future bright for England as youngsters beat USA on Rooney farewell

first_img“It has been a brilliant year no matter what happens on Sunday. We’ve had real shoots of progress and achieved some outstanding results,” said Southgate.“But everybody wants to get to a semi-final out of a very tough group so it would be a really big step forward.”As Rooney and Kane watched on from the bench for the first 45 minutes, Wilson was handed his chance to impress on his international debut, while Jadon Sancho was given his first start.England quickly put the game to bed with two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half as firstly Lingard received Dele Alli’s pass before curling high into the far corner.Sancho has quickly made a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund and the 18-year-old built on his fine Bundesliga form by teeing up Alexander-Arnold to drill his first international goal into the far corner.As planned, Rooney got the chance to add to his 53 international goals and was handed the captain’s armband one last time when he entered on 58 minutes.He didn’t get the fairytale ending as Brad Guzan made a fine save to the crowd’s dismay in stoppage time.However, Wilson did get his goal to cap a dream debut for the Bournemouth striker, who has battled through the lower leagues and two cruciate ligament injuries in both knees to make it to the international stage.Wilson got ahead of his marker to turn Fabian Delph’s cross in at the near post 13 minutes from time. Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Wayne Rooney believes the future is bright for England as a youthful Three Lions eased past the United States 3-0 at Wembley on his international swansong on Thursday.Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and debutant Callum Wilson grabbed the goals in a dominant England display despite Gareth Southgate fielding a very inexperienced side.Should England avenge their heartbreaking World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia on Sunday at Wembley, Southgate’s men can build on the progress made by surpassing expectations in Russia this summer by qualifying for the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League.“It’s my opinion that England are in very safe hands from what I’ve seen this week,” said Rooney.“The way they are being coached is brilliant, it’s a great group of young players who have a bright future.“They will go close to being the next team to bring a trophy back for England.”The decision to honour Rooney with a first cap for two years divided opinion.However, the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the introduction of England’s greatest ever goalscorer just before the hour mark on his 120th international appearance.“It will live with me for a long time,” added Rooney.“It is something which created debate because it was the first time something like this happened, but it is the right thing to do for the players if you achieve and leave your mark on the England team.”England’s former captain was also honoured before kick-off with a guard of honour and the presentation of a plaque bearing a golden Three Lions badge by current skipper Harry Kane.“I asked Harry Kane to present me with the award because I believe he will beat my goalscoring record and I look forward to presenting him with the trophy,” added Rooney.Kane didn’t get the chance to add to his 19 international goals as Southgate prioritised keeping most of his key players fresh for Croatia’s visit on Sunday.last_img read more

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Curtis Cup players and champions head to Coventry

first_img19 Aug 2018 Curtis Cup players and champions head to Coventry Curtis Cup players and champions are targeting the English women’s open amateur championship which gets underway at Coventry Golf Club on Tuesday.They’re aiming to follow in the footsteps of Solheim Cup stars Charley Hull, Jodi Ewart and Joanna Morley who have all won this title.The high-class international field includes players from 11 different countries and three Curtis Cup players: Lily May Humphreys and Sophie Lamb of England and Shannon McWilliams from Scotland.Many of the competitors hold individual titles and have amassed other impressive achievements.Humphreys, 16, (Stoke by Nayland, Essex) is the Scottish women’s open winner while Lamb, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, was leading amateur at the 2017 British Women’s Open and is a past winner of the British stroke play.Georgina Blackman, (Chelmsford, Essex) is the English women’s amateur champion and Yorkshire’s Nicola Slater (Lindrick) holds the English match play title and won the Bridget Jackson Bowl at Handsworth.Scotland’s Hannah McCook has won both the Irish and Welsh open titles and, alongside McWilliams, was in the Scotland’s winning team at the recent Women’s Home Internationals.Hollie Muse, from West Lancashire, reached the semi-finals of the British women’s amateur and played the British Women’s Open.The juniors in the field include Ffion Tynan of Wales, who is the Scottish girls’ champion, and Charlotte Heath of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, who reached the semi-finals of the British girls’ championship and won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.Among the local players are Coventry’s own Lisa Barton, a past Warwickshire champion, and county team mate Lauren Beaman of Moor Hall.Coventry Golf Club will test the players with its mature undulating parkland course which has been host to many prestigious professional and amateur tournaments.The full field will play an 18-hole round on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, with the top 40 and ties playing the final 36 holes on Thursday. Spectators are welcome and admission is free. Tags: Coventry Golf Club, Open Amateur Championship, Womenlast_img read more

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Westport Winery Voted Best Northwest Winery Destination

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Westport WineryWestport Winery Garden Resort has again been voted Best of the Northwest Winery Destination in the King 5 Evening Magazine contest. Winery co-owner Kim Roberts said, “We are simply so excited and honored to have this vote of confidence from the region. This award put us on the map the second year we were in business. As we now approach our tenth anniversary it’s good to know we are still meeting and hopefully exceeding the expectations of our visitors. Our entire team works hard to create fabulous wine, delicious food, inspiring gardens, and a place for guests to make memories.”Westport Winery Garden Resort won Best of the Northwest Winery Destination in the King 5 Evening Magazine contest. Photo courtesy: Westport WineryIn 2016 Westport Winery was honored as one of the top twenty most-admired wineries in North America by Winery & Vineyard Management Magazine. It was named 2011 Washington Winery to Watch by Wine Press Northwest. They have been voted Best Winery by King 5 Evening Magazine seven times. They were named the Best Washington Family Business Silver Medal winners in 2012, received the Grays Harbor Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015, and were name Best Winery, Best Wine Shop, and Best Boutique Winery for 2016 by South Sound Magazine.Family-friendly Westport Winery Garden Resort, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. The resort (including the restaurant, bakery, plant nursery and 15-acre display garden) is open daily or breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Westport Winery’s second store, TASTING @ Cannon Beach, is located at 255 N. Hemlock. The Oregon tasting room is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information or reservations call 360-648-2224.last_img read more

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Bruh moment of 8th December 2019: Faf du Plessis says Hardus Viljoen isn’t playing…

first_imgImage Courtesy: Twitter/GettyAdvertisement 24lnfNBA Finals | Brooklyn VszjsqWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Ef8hd( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) xrrWould you ever consider trying this?😱5l4tCan your students do this? 🌚amdRoller skating! Powered by Firework The coin toss- regular drill before a cricket match, the captains of the two teams come for the coin flip, and following the results they discuss the starting 11, the pitch quality, some words on the opposition, any necessary changes in the team lineup and the reasons behind the changes. South African international and Paarl Rocks captain Faf du Plessis did the same, the last part with a more detailed approach. Way, way more detailed approach.Advertisement Image Courtesy: Twitter/GettyThe 2019 Mzansi Super League is currently ongoing in South Africa, and du Plessis- the national team skipper is also the leader of the Paarl Rocks. Today’s fixture was against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at Boland Park. Just after the coin toss with Giants leader JJ Smuts, the host captain revealed that Hardus Viljoen is out of the lineup, and was too honest as to why.As the coin toss presenter asked him why Viljoen was not playing, the Chennai Super Kings star replied: “Hardus Viljoen not playing today because he’s lying in bed with my sister as they got married yesterday.”Advertisement Check out the hysterical escapade in the clip below, uploaded to Twitter by @FantasyCricTeam.The 35 year old’s bizarre reply on his brother in law’s absence was monumentally unexpected for the presenter to hear, and he couldn’t control his laugh.Viljoen, who is a right arm fast bowler, and plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, was engaged to Rhemi Rynners, sister of du Plessis back in April 2019. Just before today’s Giants clash, the South African international celebrated his wedding day with his teammate’s sibling on 7th December.The 30 year old has 109 T20 caps for the national team, and has represented the Proteas in only a single test match.The Rocks played the first innings, and scored 168 for 5 wickets. Du Plessis made 22 off 19 balls. However, excellent bowling spells from Ferisco Adams and Tabraiz Shamsi helped them to pack the visitors up by 156 runs in 20 overs, winning the match by 12 runs.The win puts the Rocks on 27 points from 10 games, and has enabled the them to secure entry into the play-offs. They also defeated the Giants last week as the away team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Advertisementlast_img read more

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Roma aim to fight off Arsenal and Liverpool interest to land Lyon ace

first_img Alexandre Lacazette 1 Roma have joined Arsenal and Liverpool in the race for Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette, according to reports in France.The 23-year-old has been on fire this season, smashing 24 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions.Unsurprisingly that form has not gone unnoticed and clubs from all over Europe are keeping tabs on the France international.Arsenal have sent scouts to see the forward in action, while Liverpool reportedly see the Frenchman as the ideal player to bolster their attacking options.However, according to L’Equipe, Roma have now joined the race for Lacazette and have made enquires to Lyon.The Serie A club are wary that a summer bidding war may occur for Lacazette and are hoping to strike a deal during the January transfer window instead.last_img

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