Thursday, January 15, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 15, 2015

Gov. Peter Shumlin outlined his proposed budget earlier today in a joint session of the House and Senate. He is proposing a lean budget because of a looming $94 million deficit. His plan relies on cutting some services, consolidating some programs and raising taxes for some by closing what he calls tax loopholes. But the governor does not plan on raising broad based taxes. There still is lot of work to do on the proposed budget. Officials say the finalized version will not be ready until at least May.

A 16-million-dollar federal grant is being provided to help improve the water quality of Lake Champlain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to Vermont and New York will also be used to bring together partners to work towards the goal in a new way. Governor Peter Shumlin says cleaning up the lake is imperative, as it creates millions of dollars in economic activity each year.

The Vermont Attorney General's Office announced a formal public comment period on proposed genetic engineering labeling rule. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 20 at 5 p.m. in Room 11. This will be the only public hearing on the proposed rule. A press release says members of the public are invited to send formal comments on the proposed rule to the Attorney General at any time until January 28. The public can send comments through the Secretary of State's website, or by sending an email to

Voters in Middlebury will discuss in March whether to give raises to Select Board members who have been paid the same stipend for more than 20 years. The six members are currently paid $1,500 a year, and the chairman $1,800. An article on the draft town meeting warning asks whether those numbers should go up to $2,700 and $3,250.

Fort Ticonderoga has purchased a Vermont-based Lake Champlain cruise boat and will offer tours as part of the historic site's ongoing efforts to develop its waterway recreation resources. Officials with the not-for-profit organization that operates the privately owned heritage tourism destination in the southeastern Adirondacks say the ownership of the Carillon cruise boat will be finalized this spring, with waterway tours to begin during the 2015 season. The Carillon is a 60-foot replica of a 1920s Thousand Islands cruise ship.