The 1999 session of the Vermont Legislature ended last weekend after lawmakers approved $54.1 million worth of tax cuts.

We don't always hear good news from Montpelier. So we were certainly happy to hear about money being given back to the folks who earned it in the first place.

We wish we had also heard about Powerball being approved with enough support to override a gubernatorial veto. But no such luck. Merchants along the Vermont side of the Connecticut River will continue to lose customers to New Hampshire.

Sadly enough, we continue to hear about legislative study committees. Caledonia Republican Sen. Julius Canns was right when he noted: "We have more study committees than I've ever seen since I've been here. We're studying these things to death." But the proliferation of summer study committees does serve a purpose for some politicos. It provides per-diem payments, mileage and meal expenses for certain legislators at our expense.

In the words of Vermont Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin: "The line between a citizen Legislature and a full-time Legislature is the summer study committee. My philosophy has always been, the fewer the better." Since we agree with Shumlin's words, we wonder what the influential senator could do to reduce the number of said committees.

But oh well, Sen. Shumlin has been mentioned as a candidate for higher office. He may not even be in the Legislature in two years. But the study committees will still be there.

Copyright 1999

The Caledonian-Record


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