Monday, August 11, 2014

WVTK Local & State News August 11, 2014

A report by the federal government says Vermonters spend more than the average American on food, gasoline and health care, but about average on housing and utilities. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report comparing the personal consumption expenditures of the 50 states. The report found Vermont’s per capita personal consumption expenditure for 2012 was $39,677. Vermont’s per person spending increased 13 percent from 2009 when the recession ended, to 2012. It was the strongest pace in the region.

The heroin and opiate epidemic isn't something new to the northeast. Officials in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York are continuing to work to find ways to reverse the trend. Ticonderoga Police Chief Mark Johns says last year alone at least 40% of all arrests were drug related. A pharmacist in town says over the last 5-7 years he's seen the number of people abusing prescriptions increase dramatically. The Ticonderoga Neighbors Addressing Drug Abuse Coalition was formed last year, but this week it will host its first community forum. Johns says the goal is to begin a conversation about the community’s drug problem and create local strategies to fight it. The community forum is free and open to anyone. It will be tomorrow night from 7- 8 p.m. at the North Country Community College in Ticonderoga.

Governor Peter Shumlin is unveiling his plan to cut Vermont's budget by $31-million this afternoon. At a press conference earlier today, the governor said it's imperative for Vermont to act quickly to get the maximum benefit of cuts. The governor ordered a two percent cut in overall general fund spending last month after the latest estimates from state economists show revenues for the fiscal year will grow by three percent instead of the five percent the budget was based on.

The Vermont State Fair is getting back on its feet after being over $200,000 in debt. Fair organizers discovered the financial problems earlier this year, and after an audit, let go of the fair manager. Now fair officials say they have paid off more than half of the deficit and have worked out a schedule to pay back taxes to the IRS. The state fair starts in Rutland on August 29th.