May 05, 2008
Governorâ€™s Adjournment Address
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Thank you Lt. Governor Dubie for your steady leadership on so many important issues this session; President Pro Tem Shumlin, and Minority Leader Doyle for your leadership; and my heartfelt thanks to all of the members of this body.
Thank you Madam Speaker, Majority Leader Partridge and Minority Leader Adams for your leadership; and my heartfelt thanks to all the members of this body for your work this session.
In January, I presented a series of proposals to achieve prosperity through affordability and to rethink, revitalize and reform the way our state addresses its most pressing challenges.
We understood then, as we do now, that by making healthcare, homeownership and the tax burden more affordableâ€”and by making smart, targeted investments in job creation and our natural environmentâ€”our families and our state will prosper.
I am pleased to stand before you [this afternoon] to thank you for working with me to deliver on our obligations to the people of Vermont.
Together, we crafted a responsible, compassionate and balanced budget. And we turned back efforts to raise taxes on the already overburdened taxpayers of our state.
Our budget also reflects the principles I laid out in January: It protects the most vulnerable and invests in economic growth and job creation. In particular, I want to thank you for agreeing to increase our investment in the Next Generation scholarships and workforce training, and for restoring proposed cuts to the Building Bright Futures early childhood education program and my mentoring initiative for children.
We can be proud that this budget positions Vermont to emerge from this national recession with a stronger, more resilientâ€”and therefore more prosperousâ€”economy for the long term.
I caution, however, that by not making some of the most difficult decisions there will be more significant budget challenges ahead. We will have to work together, in the coming biennium, to manage to available revenues and increased pressures in Medicaid and other areas of state government.
We have a robust transportation bill that invests $418 million into Vermontâ€™s transportation infrastructure, emphasizes road and bridge preservation and puts more Vermonters to work on projects all across Vermont.
I was pleased to sign the Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act of 2008 establishing an efficiency program to help homeowners and businesses reduce fuel consumption and save money.
We passed health care legislation that makes additional strides in improving the cost and quality of our health care system.
We can be proud of the bold steps weâ€™ve taken to rethink and reform our system of corrections. We can be particularly proud of the emphasis weâ€™ve put on preventing domestic and sexual violence.
And I am pleased we were able to reach agreement on a housing bill. While it took several years to get to this point, and the bill does not go as far as I had hoped, it will result in the creation of homes that otherwise would not be built and, most importantly, that working families can afford. This is a step in the right direction.
Going far beyond the success of these initiatives, however, is your swift and diligent work on my Economic Growth Initiative. This package will create jobs and help ensure Vermont emerges from this downturn with a stronger economy.
Your support for these efforts is appreciatedâ€”not just by me, but also by all the people of Vermont who expect Montpelier to take all responsible steps to strengthen the economy, provide relief from rising costs and encourage job creation.
From the outset, we recognized we must be unyielding in our commitment to the fiscal security of our state, the protection of Vermonters who are struggling, and our investment in economic growth.
We have made significant progress to improve the lives of our fellow Vermonters, but there is more to do. We must, for example, redouble our efforts to address rising healthcare costs and property taxes.
Vermont must remain vigilantâ€”we will not rest on our laurels. We must resolve to take whatever steps necessary to ensure we are the first state to emerge from this economic downturn with a stronger, more innovative economy.
Weâ€™ve done it beforeâ€”most recently in 2003â€”and we can do it again. Thank you all very much, indeed.
Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: May 05, 2008 13:15:15