Housing, Medicaid among areas reporting shortfallsBy DAVE GRAM
The Associated Press | December 03,2013MONTPELIER — A proposal to triple the amount of money that Vermont is devoting to emergency housing assistance drew concern from a key lawmaker Monday.
The Department for Children and Families is asking for $3.2 million for such assistance, in addition to the $1.5 million that was earmarked in the budget last spring. Much of the money goes toward providing temporary shelter for homeless individuals and families in motels.
The head of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Martha Heath, attributed the increase in housing expenses to the state’s rising homelessness. She said Vermont needs to find more systematic approaches than having people stay in motels.
“It doesn’t make sense to me on a purely logical basis that we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, yet we continue to see these growing numbers of people who need housing,” she said as the Appropriations Committee prepared to meet to respond to unforeseen needs in the middle of the fiscal year.
Overall, though, Heath said the issues her committee began reviewing Monday would be easier to resolve than those in the budget for the next fiscal year.
That year begins July 1, and early estimates indicate the state will collect about $70 million less in revenue than it will have in expenses. Gov. Peter Shumlin is expected to make his spending recommendations Jan. 15.
Monday the subjects were midyear budget changes for the current fiscal year.
Among midyear changes proposed:
— The administration is seeking a $7.1 million boost in funding for general Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income residents, a change attributed to growing caseloads.
— The Department of Corrections needs $1.5 million more to pay for moving inmates to out-of-state prisons to make room for pretrial detainees. Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said the change reflected an underestimate in last year’s budget process more than a growth in demand for beds.
— The state is saving an estimated $6.8 million on health premiums for state workers. The workers, who pay 20 percent of their health care costs, also are enjoying a break for four two-week pay periods from having to pay their share. Jim Reardon, commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management, attributed the savings to lower-than-anticipated health claims by state employees.MORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — The Vermont Board of Education is seeking public comment as members draft a... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan is first European to navigate passage that bears his name from the Atlantic to the Pacific sea; in 1582, Will Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway secure their marriage license with 40 pound bond.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1778, Capt. James Cook is first European to set eyes on Maui in Hawaiian Islands; 1922, Pharoah Tutankhamun found after 3000 years; 1909, Hollawood movie star Frances Dee born in Los Angeles.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Hazmat unit called downtown, Boys & Girls Club hosts dinner for members and families, Secret Santa back on the beat, city discusses runoff problem on Mayfield Road, Brandon gets creative about fixes to town roads, sidewalks.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1944, U.S. begins B-29 bombing raids on Japanese main islands; in 1950, Great Appalachian Storm begins to form; 1963, Lee Oswald killed by Jack Ruby; 1974, D.B. Cooper hijacks Seattle-bound airliner; 1974, 'Lucy' found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.