For immediate release
January 20, 2012
Vermont Democratic Party
Montpelier, VT — Yesterday in the Vermont House of Representatives, Kurt Wright voted “no” on the Budget Adjustment Act related to the FY 2012 budget. Wright followed 41 of his 43 GOP colleagues in casting his party-line vote against critical funding for social work, substance abuse intervention, law enforcement and refugee resettlement initiatives that are critical to the well-being of Burlington and in line with Burlington values.
“Kurt Wright’s mayoral campaign slogan is ‘Citizenship not Partisanship,’ but in reality, this citizen says one thing in Burlington and then votes as a partisan in Montpelier,” stated Burlington resident Jake Perkinson, Chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party and former Chairman of both the Burlington City Democratic Committee and the Chittenden County Democratic Party. “This is yet one more example that Wright is not a leader, but simply a career politician who goes along toget along. When he is in Montpelier among his Republican Party cohorts, he has shown that he will vote the partyline whether or not it is good for Burlington.”
Initiatives in the Act, which Wright voted to kill, include:
Nine new Department for Children and Families social workers that will reduce the caseload for overloaded social workers to better help vulnerable families;
A $14,000 increase in federal funds to assist the refugee population;
New Department of Vermont Health Access positions, 11 of which will specifically help manage the toughest cases for better outcomes, particularly in substance abuse and inpatient care, and save Vermont more than $4 million per year;
A new assistant for rapid arraignment in the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office;
A Global Commitment Fund pass-through that will provide the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care $30 millionfor graduate medical education; and
Two public safety positions that will enhance certificationof breathalyzer and blood alcohol tests, allowing law enforcement to have the evidence necessary to win DUI cases.
The entire budget adjustment resulted in a decrease in the FY2012 General Fund budget of approximately $220,000. “And yet, even where good program initiatives will result in financial savings and tremendous social benefits, Kurt Wright followed the obstructionist game plan of his Republican Party that is cynically applied in Washington D.C., throughout the country and now at home in Vermont” stated Chairman Perkinson. “This is a partisan vote that will hurt the City of Burlington and reflects the true Kurt Wright who is unwilling to stand up for Burlington unless it advances his own political ambition.”
“The citizens of Burlington count on us to represent their best interests in Montpelier,” stated Representative Kesha Ram, who voted in favor of the Budget Adjustment Act. “By voting against these initiatives, Kurt once again has demonstrated that he is out of touch with Burlington values, choosing instead to vote his party line.”