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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Van Persie injury hits United hopes

first_imgDavid Moyes’ slim hopes of Champions League glory receded even further on Friday when Robin van Persie was ruled out for between four and six weeks with a knee injury. A club official said: “Following further investigation Robin van Persie has a sprained knee, which will keep him out for around four to six weeks.” The worst-case scenario for Van Persie is that he is only able to play the final three league games of the season. If Van Persie’s rehabilitation goes as well as possible, he should be fit for United’s game at Everton on April 20. He will definitely be out of Saturday’s trip to West Ham, the derby against Manchester City on Tuesday and both legs of United’s Champions League quarter-final against reigning champions Bayern Munich. Speaking before the length of Van Persie’s absence was confirmed, the United manager said: “Robin van Persie scored three goals in the Champions League. I don’t know how you would want to be without a player of his ability and qualities.” The Dutch Football Association will be concerned by the news too, given that Van Persie may only return just over a week before the end of the season. Coach Louis Van Gaal will have to decide whether to include the player in his provisional World Cup squad on May 13. One crumb of comfort for United is that Danny Welbeck has played well recently so Moyes will be hoping the England international can prove to be an able deputy – starting with Saturday’s trip to Upton Park Press Association A bigger test awaits Moyes against Munich, who come to Old Trafford on April 1 for the first leg. Pep Guardiola has had little trouble adapting to life in Germany following his year-long sabbatical after leaving his role as coach of Barcelona. Bayern are unbeaten atop the Bundesliga and they wasted little effort brushing aside Arsenal in the last 16. Moyes has watched Bayern on a few occasions this year though and he is convinced there are weaknesses in the German side he can exploit. “They have proved they are the best by winning the World Club Championship but I’ve had a chance to see Munich a few times, I watched them at Arsenal and they are a good team,” Moyes said. “But I’ve got a few things that I would say that I’ve seen that I would try to work on and capitalise on.” Van Persie fired United into the last eight of the competition with a stunning hat-trick against Olympiacos on Wednesday, but he left the field on a stretcher following a tackle from behind in the dying minutes. Moyes hoped the injury was not serious, but a second scan revealed the striker would be out for a considerable time. last_img read more

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Players’ Union Queries Shift of AFCON 2021 Back to January

first_imgJonas Baer-Hoffmann, the secretary-general of world players’ union FIFPro Players’ representatives are worried that moving next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to January will create difficulties for the continent’s footballers, but say there is no easy solution as to how to fit the competition into the calendar.Host nation Cameroon announced last week that the 24-team competition would take place in January and February because the original June/July slot coincided with the rainy season.However, this means European clubs will have to release players in the middle of the season which was described as a catastrophe by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, the secretary-general of world players’ union FIFPro, said that neither period was ideal as June/July would have been sandwiched between the revamped Fifa Club World Cup and the start of the European season.“With the Club World Cup being pressed into the calendar, we thought it would be unacceptable for the players to be playing all of those competitions in succession,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an International Labour Organisation conference.“But (January/February) has also proved over the last few years to be very difficult because you are asking players to step away from their club environment for weeks.”He said that missing weeks of the club season was a challenge even for star players while, for those battling for a place in the team, it would be “very, very difficult”.“Ultimately, we need to have a conversation about aligning all these tournaments to the four-year cycle. That will create a little bit more space and a bit more room for compromise between national team and club obligations,” he said. “Right now, it feels like there is not a really good solution.”The Afcon, traditionally held every two years in January and February, was moved to July for the 2019 edition in Egypt to avoid clashing with the European season, but this prompted complaints about the heat.Former Cameroon international Geremi Njitap, who won over 100 caps and is now the head of his country’s players’ union Synafoc, said some players might quit their national sides rather than miss club games.“It will put the players in a tough position… some players will resign from their national teams,” the former Real Madrid and Chelsea player told Reuters. “And if a lot of teams lose their players, it will devalue the competition.”He said it might also make it more difficult for African players to earn moves to European clubs.“Once the club realises he will go to the national team, his chances of being signed will drop,” he said.He said that a four-yearly tournament would be the best solution. “It’s better to organise every four years and find a fixed period, not change all the time,” he said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Neymar takes part in PSG training amid ongoing Barcelona speculation

first_img Related News The Brazil forward has been strongly linked with a return to Catalonia just two years after swapping clubs for a world-record fee of €222million (approx. $245.6 million).He returned late for preseason training with PSG and has yet to take part in any of their friendlies because of foot and ankle injury complaints. MLS in ‘very advanced discussions’ with St. Louis about expansion, commissioner says L’entraînement collectif du jour à Shenzhen #ChinaSummerTour2019   pic.twitter.com/X7vOIATN4H— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) August 1, 2019The 27-year-old is also suspended for Saturday’s Trophee des Champions clash with Rennes after his altercation with a fan following PSG’s Coupe de France final loss to the same opposition in April.But Neymar was all smiles as he took part in training with his teammates Thursday in China and could be in contention for PSG’s Ligue 1 opener with Nimes a week from Sunday. PSG beat Sydney FC, 3-0, in the last of its preseason friendlies to make it two wins in four matches during the close season.center_img MLS All-Star Game 2019: Marcos Llorente, Joao Felix lead Atletico Madrid to win Neymar took part Thursday in training with Paris Saint-Germain, despite fresh speculation that he is refusing to play for the club.Reports in Spain suggest Neymar has informed PSG that he will not play any more matches in an attempt to force through a move to his former team Barcelona.last_img read more

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Former Mason City man arrested in Seattle, faces sex crime charges in Minnesota

first_imgREDWOOD COUNTY, MINNESOTA — A former Mason City man living in Minnesota has been arrested in Seattle Washington after being charged with four counts of criminal sexual misconduct in Redwood County Minnesota. A warrant was issued earlier this month for 38-year-old Austin Svejda. According to a criminal complaint, a woman reported to police on March 1st that she had been sexually assaulted by Svejda, who she identified as her boss. The woman said he invited her to his house, where she had about four glasses of wine and they smoked what she says Svedja called a “CBD joint”. She also was given a gummy, which she assumed contained THC or CBD. The woman says she remembered her vision blurring but didn’t recall anything else until she woke up in the living room the next morning. The woman later in the day felt ill and later went to the hospital, where she tested positive for amphetamines. Police on March 2nd say they searched Svedja’s house where they found wine, marijuana and methamphetamines, along with other evidence related to sexual activity. Svejda was arrested last Tuesday by United States Marshals at a Seattle airport as he was exiting a flight and was awaiting to be transported back to Minnesota to face formal charges.last_img read more

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