Shap Smith wants legislators to wrap up business before May this year, a timetable he aims to achieve by setting an urgent tone early on.
The Legislature has allotted funding sufficient to operate for 18 weeks in 2012, but the Speaker told House members this week he intends to use only 16 of them. That would have lawmakers out the door by April 30.
“I think it’s important to set an aggressive timetable so that people know what the expectations are,” Smith said Tuesday.
Beyond saving taxpayers a few dimes, the move would also have some political benefits – candidates for state and local office are prohibited from soliciting money from lobbyists until after the gavel falls on the 2012 session.
Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding has said the governor is equally intent on sending legislators home early. His budget address on Jan. 12 was the earliest in a decade. Shumlin expedited the spending proposal in part, Spaulding said, to give lawmakers the head start they need to wrap up before May.