State ends year with small surplus

07/23/09 5:50PM By Ross Sneyd

(Host) Vermont state government actually ended its fiscal year with a small budget surplus.

Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville says when he closed the 2009 budget, there was still $14 million on hand.

But he says that's not an indication that Vermont's financial problems are over.

(Lunderville) "Although we ended the fiscal year 2009 with a little more revenue than expected it shouldn't be taken as an indication that the economy is turning around. It's really a unique situation bought on primarily because of a one-time estate tax settlement that happened earlier in the year. Other than that, our economists are still saying we haven't yet bottomed out."

(Host) About half of the surplus will be put toward this year's budget. State law requires the rest to be transferred to other funds, including college scholarships.

The state also ended the budget year with just about what it was expecting to collect in the transportation and education funds.

Lunderville says revenue projections were revised downward six times for last year's budget and there's no indication that the new budget year will be any better.

(Lunderville)"While there are some bright spots, they're few and far between and we probably haven't quite reached the bottom, although we might be close and when we do it's going to be a long, slow recovery back up. That's one of the reasons we need to make sure we balance the budget and make sure we do so in a sustainable way."

(Host) Just last week, officials reduced their projection for what the state will collect in taxes and fees this budget year by $28 million.

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