State Treasurer Beth Pearce, legislative leadership, and the Shumlin administration today announced a package of measures that will accelerate highway aid and education payments and allow disaster-impacted towns to defer education payments due to the State on December 1. ‘A key to Vermont’s successful recovery from the disasters that have struck is the ongoing partnership between State and municipal governments,’ said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. ‘The package we are announcing today recognizes that Vermont towns do not stand alone as they work to rebuild. We must continue to exercise flexibility in our financial planning to provide impacted communities with the help needed to fully recover.’ The financial package includes: · As was done in September, the Treasurer’s Office will accelerate local highway aid payments that were scheduled to go out to towns on January 15, 2012. The approximately $6.4 million will be disbursed to towns prior to Thanksgiving.· The Treasurer’s Office also will accelerate education payments this week to local schools of approximately $125 million. These payments were due to be released on December 10.· Towns significantly impacted by the spring flooding disasters and Tropical Storm Irene may defer for one-time-only a portion of education payments due to the State on December 1, up to the amount of unreimbursed claims. For impacted towns, payment would not be due until February 28, 2012, without any interest applied. If payments were not paid in full by the February deadline, 8 percent interest would be assessed for all outstanding balances, retroactive to December 1. Currently, State statute requires the Treasurer to assess 8 percent interest on any late payments. Legislative leadership is committed to passing the legislation necessary to allow the deferred payments. ‘We’ve all been impressed with the progress towns have made in rebuilding their local communities and we also recognize the financial strain they are under,’ said Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding. ‘These measures, proposed by the State Treasurer, underscore the State’s commitment to do our very best to provide the assistance needed to enable all Vermont communities to recover from what has been an extraordinary year for storm related damage.’ In addition to Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont communities continue to rebuild from severe storms and flooding that hit the state in the spring. ‘The legislature is committed to helping communities overcome the enormous challenges these storms have imposed on our state,’ explained Speaker Shap Smith. ‘The goal of this package is to ease the cash flow pressures and take away some of the worries so many municipalities are facing in the aftermath of disaster.’ ‘This one-time deferment recognizes that we all must do what we can to help impacted communities continue their recovery efforts,’ said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell. ‘These are unique circumstances that require action now to ensure we continue our remarkable rebuilding process.’ Municipalities will be required to prepare a cost estimate of storm-related damages and certify that they have, or are in the process of making, the repairs associated with the estimate in order to document the amount of education tax payment that will be deferred. The estimate can only include costs incurred or reasonably expected to be incurred, prior to February 28, 2012. If a town has received any payments from FEMA, the Federal Highway Administration, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund insurance program, or private insurance, that amount must be deducted from the education tax deferred payment amount that is being requested. Such payments only apply if they are associated with a town’s original cost estimate for storm related damages. ‘We appreciate the responsiveness of State and legislative leaders to the needs of our Vermont cities and towns,’ said Steven Jeffery, Executive Director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. ‘Vermont’s recovery effort is something we all have a stake in. I am pleased that we can work together on proposals that recognize our shared commitment to a full and complete rebuilding effort on the part of all our communities.’Vermont State Treasurer’s Office. 11.22.2011
As one of the proud and shiny faces of Wisconsin athletics, football coach Bret Bielema needs to successfully juggle many roles.First and foremost, he is a football coach who seems to be maturing and improving, and has a Big Ten title under his belt. His recruiting classes have grown in prestige almost every year. He is an excellent spokesperson for Chevy trucks – pick one up today – and he has continued the proud tradition of football coaches mangling the English language.*Bielema on an injured player: “He has got a bit of a groin.”But one role Bielema has yet to master is judging the public reaction to his less-than-conventional moves. He experienced this last season when he was accused on multiple occasions of running up the score against Minnesota and Indiana.Now, in both situations the criticism was pretty weak. If you can’t stop Nate Tice from scoring on a naked bootleg you deserve to have the score run up all over you.It wasn’t that Bielema made the wrong move, however; it was that Bielema seemed surprised that it was even an issue when Minnesota coach Tim Brewster and the media brought it up after the game.And there is a good chance Bielema will be in for the same type of surprise after the spring football game Saturday.(Editor’s Note: As all opinions of spring football must be legally prefaced, we must note here that spring football is a bare bones excuse for a complicated game and any results must be taken with a Rob Havenstein grain of salt.)This season, Bielema decided to please both the fans and media alike by pitting the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense in the spring scrimmage. The UW Nursing School will rejoice for the added revenue that comes with a scrimmage worth watching, while the fans will actually have a reason to go besides copious amounts of day drinking (though, c’mon, that should be reason enough).Of course, the issue with pitting ones on ones – and why very few college coaches do it in the spring – is that someone is coming out as the loser. Both sides cannot shine, though if the game is full of mistakes, both offense and defense can manage to look meager.And the bet here is it will be quarterback Jon Budmayr coming out with question marks next to his name.The sophomore quarterback, who has had all the reps with the ones this spring as Curt Phillips is still recovering from a torn ACL, has looked anything but dominant in practices open to the media. The two issues that have plagued Budmayr’s reputation – sloppy turnovers and batted passes at the line – have been out in full force.And with the quarterback position wide open, he will be under an even more powerful microscope during the game.From the first interception or overthrown open receiver, the value Scott Tolzien provided last season will become all the more apparent. As one of the departing seniors told The Badger Herald sports crew: “They are going to miss that fucking guy like none other. He was the only player we could not afford to lose last year.”Bielema should do Budmayr the favor of letting him throw against the likes of raw freshmen and sophomores rather than pitting him against Antonio Fenelus and Aaron Henry. Because if the practices this spring have been any type of precursor, one of those two will be embarrassing Budmayr come Saturday.Scrimmaging the best against the best might be the best entertainment value, but it is not what is best for Bielema’s team. Someone, and likely Budmayr, will be hearing not-so-subtle doubts about his readiness for five months before the team meets again for fall camp.The fans paying $5 to attend Camp Randall Saturday appreciate the gesture of what Bielema has done. The ones v. ones will make for a better game and more interesting analysis.But Bielema really doesn’t need to help the entertainment value – the day drinking should be plenty.Michael is a senior majoring in journalism. Think he is an idiot? You are not alone. Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.