State News

Shumlin orders another $17 million in budget cuts

By Hilary Niles,

On Wednesday, Nov. 26, state agencies were directed to find another $17 million in cuts for the current budget year. That news comes on top of $31.3 million in summer rescissions after the state’s revenue forecast was downgraded. Now, four months into fiscal year 2015, revenues are another $12 million short, state officials say.

Agencies have been asked to submit plans by Dec. 5 for trimming $6.7 million in spending immediately. Another $5.3 million will be proposed in the winter budget adjustment process, Finance and Management Commissioner Jim Reardon said in a news release Wednesday announcing the directive.

As part of the cuts, agencies will have to absorb about $3.5 million of unexpected increases in the cost of health care and other benefits for state employees. Rather than getting more money to cover those expenses, departments and programs will have to find other savings to offset the higher bill.

Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding said the cuts will not trigger reduced benefits or services, which would require emergency rules to modify. He said service cuts may be discussed when the Legislature convenes in January.

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