NO. R-208.  Senate concurrent resolution thanking U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine and her congres-sional cosponsors for her amendment to the Jobs and Tax Growth Reconciliation Act of 2003 which extends emergency financial assistance to the states and territories.

(S.C.R.30)

Offered by:  Senator Bartlett of Lamoille County, Senator Bloomer of Rutland County and Senator Sears of Bennington County.

Whereas, on May 23, Congress gave its final approval to the Jobs and Tax Growth Reconciliation Act of 2003 which includes various reductions in individual and corporate federal tax rates, and

Whereas, especially important to all of the states and territories, including the state of Vermont, is a Senate amendment, sponsored by Senator Susan Collins of Maine and 11 cosponsors, both Democrats and Republicans, including senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Benjamin E. Nelson of Nebraska, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Charles E. Schumer of New York, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Jon Corzine of New Jersey, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, which extends emergency financial relief to the states and territories which are currently experiencing their most serious fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, and

Whereas, Senator Collins’ amendment, based on S.557 which she had previously introduced as a separate bill, provides the states and territories $20 billion of emergency financial relief, including $10 billion for “FMAP,” the federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid and $10 billion for general expenditures, and

Whereas, for the state of Vermont, the Collins amendment will mean an additional $34 million federal contribution to the state’s Medicaid costs and $50 million extra for general expenditures for the state’s 2004 fiscal year, and

Whereas, on May 15, the Senate approved the Collins amendment by an overwhelmingly bipartisan roll call vote of 95-3, with both Senators Leahy and Jeffords of Vermont voting in the affirmative, and

Whereas, the Collins amendment was ultimately included as part of the act’s conference report, and

Whereas, news of this unanticipated federal appropriation for Vermont arrives at a very opportune moment as the state’s budget for fiscal year 2004 is being finalized, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly expresses its sincere appreciation to U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine and each of her 11 cosponsors for their decisive and timely effort to extend to Vermont and the other states and territories much needed emergency financial assistance for both Medicaid and general expenditures, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Senator Collins, each of her amendment’s cosponsors, and to U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords in Washington, D.C.