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Vermont Speaker of the House says ‘much to be proud of’

first_imgMontpelier. 5.14.2010. The Vermont Speaker of the House, Shap Smith, offers his view on the legislative session that ended Wednesday night.”Vermonters can be proud of the work the legislature did this year under very difficult circumstances.  The legislature, working with the administration, put in place policies that will create new jobs and restore our state’s fiscal health while avoiding devastating cuts and new broad-based taxes. To guide our decisions, we followed the long-held Vermont values that allow our state to remain the safest, greenest and healthiest state, known for being a great place to raise a family.  Despite the worst economy in a lifetime, the legislature refused to compromise on the investments that make Vermont a place we are proud to call home.In year two of a three-year downturn, through collaboration with key stakeholders, including our state’s teachers, state employees, local school boards, and the governor, we were able to close a $155 million budget gap without jeopardizing the health and well-being of Vermonters.  Rather than enact the governor’s proposals which would have cut valuable state programs that are seeing unprecedented demand, the legislature’s budget restores protection to our seniors, our neighbors and friends with disabilities, and children with special needs. The budget maintains affordable health care for the uninsured in a time when health care premiums are skyrocketing.  Challenges for Change initiated an effort to make government more effective and responsive to those it serves while saving the state nearly $40 million.  The budget was forward-thinking as well, finding significant savings in the future to aid next year’s legislature in what will be another difficult budget year.  Furthermore, understanding the tough times facing Vermonters, the legislature held the line on property tax rates, providing much needed statewide tax relief. Vermonters may most be proud that the legislature was able to keep its commitment to Vermont values while creating much needed jobs for its citizens.In passing our jobs bill, we answered the call of business leaders and farmers to create greater access to capital and workforce training and gave aid to farms to help purchase seeds.  Through the Capital Bill, hundreds of Vermonters will be put to work improving our state’s infrastructure.  And in order to continue to foster a strong Vermont economy and local job creation, we granted many Vermont businesses a reduction in capital gains taxes and avoided broad-based tax increases.While the work of the legislature to grow jobs and address our state’s fiscal challenges in a balanced and responsible manner was no small task, Vermonters have much more to be proud of. The Unemployment Trust Fund is on a path toward solvency, ensuring that Vermonters will not be forced into poverty if they lose their jobs. The legislature was able to come to an agreement with the governor without making drastic cuts to employee benefits or putting an undue burden on Vermont businesses.  In an area where other states are struggling, Vermont can be proud of the agreement that will to protect this vital safety net.Vermonters can be proud that after forty years of inaction, the legislature—in concert with the executive and judicial branches—took action to unify the judiciary under one umbrella.  This move allows Vermont’s judicial system to provide better justice to our citizens. We kept intact our strong education system and its proud tradition of local control.  Rather than mandate school consolidation, the legislature took the stance that streamlining district resources should be done in a way that improves education for our children rather than stifling it.The legislature moved its best-in-the-nation health care system forward so that it can continue to produce high-quality care at a cost affordable to Vermonters.  Through a new health care system design and by expanding successful preventive care programs, Vermont will continue to be a leader in health care reform and our country’s healthiest state.  Surely Vermonters can be proud of this too.Due to the action of the legislature, our roads and highways will soon be safer.  No longer will drivers be allowed to text while driving.  The law fosters safe and responsible driving practices in our youngest drivers by banning the use of all electronic devices and requiring the primary enforcement of seatbelt use for junior operators. In these difficult times we made investments in our people and in our infrastructure while balancing the budget in a responsible way.  We did so by working together in a tri-partisan manner to get Vermonters the results they deserve.I am proud of the work we have done.  We have protected what Vermonters value most about our state and have set the path for a stronger future and a stronger Vermont.”Representative Shap Smith Speaker of the HouseSource: Speaker’s office. 5.14.2010. The budget bill can be found at: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2010/bills/Senate/H-789.pdf(link is external)The full roster of bills can be found at the Legislative page: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/database/database2.cfm(link is external)last_img read more

Tennis News Roger Federer suffers shock defeat in ATP Finals, in danger of not qualifying for semi-final

first_imgNew Delhi: Roger Federer suffered a shock straight-sets defeat to Kei Nishikori at the ATP Finals, severely denting his bid for the 100th title of his illustrious career.   The Swiss, who has won the season-ending event a record six times, produced an uncharacteristically error-prone and fractious display in the round-robin match on Sunday as the Japanese seventh seed prevailed 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.  The result means Federer is now in danger of failing to qualify for the semi-finals for just the second time in 16 appearances at the event. Read More |  Messi scores brace, Barcelona suffer first home loss in two years”I felt we both struggled, you know, throughout the first set,” he said. “You could tell it was sort of a first round. I had my chances maybe a bit more than he did.Then I started to feel better in the second set. I think we both did. The level went up. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep the lead that I got early. That was important, I think, at the end. That was the key of the match.”   Read More | Manchester City beat Manchester United, Liverpool continue winning runFederer, 37, has beaten Nishikori in Shanghai and Paris in recent weeks but despite having the backing of a full house at the O2 Arena, he never really settled into a groove.  The normally cool Swiss was warned by the umpire for ball abuse in the 12th game after Nishikori produced a staggering backhand winner down the line.  The Swiss great made 20 unforced errors in the first set and Nishikori capitalised, forcing a tie-break in which he raced to a 6/1 lead before sealing it 7/4.  Federer, showing real urgency, broke Nishikori immediately at the start of the second set but it proved a false dawn as he lost his own serve immediately Nishikori broke again in the sixth game and kept his nerve, serving out for victory.  Read More | Lewis Hamilton wins Brazilian GP, Max Verstappen involved in punch-up”I lost to him twice in the last two months so I played more aggressively and things started working, especially in the second set. There were some lucky points but I played well today,” said Nishikori.  Overall the statistics made grim reading for Federer, who made a total of 34 unforced errors against 19 winners.  Federer denied that cutting back on his schedule increased the pressure on him to do well at the tournaments he did play.  “I don’t think, per se, I’m playing worse because of it,” he said. “I think I’ve had that pressure, not going out early, most of my career.”   Anderson win The ATP Finals is contested by the eight players who have accumulated the most ranking points over the season separated into two groups, with the best four players reaching the knockout semi-finals stage.  Earlier, Kevin Anderson made an impressive ATP Finals debut in the same Lleyton Hewitt group, beating Dominic Thiem 6-3 7-6 (12/10).  The Wimbledon finalist, who stands at 2.03 metres (six feet eight inches) tall dominated the early exchanges and secured the crucial break in the fourth game.  Thiem tightened up his game in the second set and forced a tie-break, but Anderson saved two set points and converted his fourth match point.  “I definitely felt a little bit nervous,” said Anderson. “But I was able to settle very quickly and find a really good rhythm, taking care of my serve games nicely, created quite a few opportunities on his serve.”  For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more