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Vt. state finances: The puzzle gets tougher

Vermont lawmakers return to work this week after their Town Meeting break with little indication the state's fiscal picture is getting any brighter.

Gov. Peter Shumlin hoped to raise $17 million for three key energy-related programs from a new tax on charitable betting tickets. But lawmakers say the tax won't raise more than a third that amount, and there's concern it'll hurt the nonprofits that use them to raise money.

Meanwhile, there appears to be strong opposition in the Legislature to using money saved by reducing the earned income tax credit benefits for low-income working Vermonters. Shumlin wanted to use that money for expanded child care subsidies.

Adding to the fiscal pressure are the automatic budget cuts that took effect at the federal level March 1.