Faced with deficit, Scott admin asks all agencies to consider 8% budget cut

By Guy Page

The Scott administration wants all state agency and department heads to consider an 8% budget cut to eliminate the state’s looming 2021 $400 million budget deficit, Administration Secretary Suzanne Young confirmed at a press conference today.

The estimated $400 million deficit has been caused by pandemic-related economic losses. Responding to a question posed by Erin Petenko of VTDigger, Secretary Young said, “We are putting forth a three-month budget beginning July 1. We have been working with agencies and departments for how much operational money they will need. The direction was to let us know if they could live with 23% of their fiscal year budget.”

Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald

Secretary of Administration Susanne Young

“That represents an 8 percent decrease,” Young said. “Whether that 8 percent will continue remains to be seen.” If the federal government changes its mind and allows states to reduce deficits with federal recovery money, or if the economy recovers better than expected, the deficit may be well below $400 million. Both the administration and the Legislature hope to have answers to both questions by August, when the Legislature returns to set the October-June 2021 budget.

Meanwhile, Vermont Daily readers have responded with enthusiasm to Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe’s challenge to “tell us the program that you want to get rid of.” Two commenters of note are both candidates for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Ashe is seeking the Democratic nomination for that post.

Candidate Dana Colson of South Royalton, a self-employed businessman, takes the same tack as the administration. “If my math is correct, that $400 million dollar deficit is approximately 7% of the budget. I find it hard to believe we can’t find 7% in cuts,” he said in a comment to Vermont Daily yesterday. “Covid-19 has has shown us that a lot of jobs were deemed “Non-Essential.” How about we have each agency head earn their paycheck? How about we tell each of those agency heads we are cutting your budget 7%. Then it is their job to find where to cut non-essential items from their respective budgets.”

“I read somewhere the Governor had implemented a hiring freeze,” Colson said. “That’s a good start. There’s an old saying ‘When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.’ In this case when you’re in a financial hole, stop spending.”

In a press release issued last night, lieutenant governor candidate Meg Hansen asked Sen. Ashe (and other legislators proposing tax increases): “Tell us – what parts of our household budgets should we scrap so that we can afford your tax increases? Should we cut back on food, rent/ mortgage, education programs for our children, or retirement savings?”

Hansen added, “I disagree with Ashe’s claim that there is little fat to trim. The All-Payer Model, run by OneCare Vermont, is morbidly obese. Another billion-dollar undertaking is the state’s network of nonprofits that are paid (some entirely by taxpayer funds) to run programs for the government. There is a lot of duplication in these activities thanks to lacking oversight and accountability.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald

8 thoughts on “Faced with deficit, Scott admin asks all agencies to consider 8% budget cut

  1. Cutting the budget is not the proper course, since they can only grow again. Eliminating programs completely is the solution.

  2. The California governor has proposed an across the board 10% pay cut for all state employees, including education employees throughout the state and all teachers and professors.

    Vermont’s has a $6 billion budget.
    A 10% pay cut would cover a lot of deficit
    A 7% overall reduction would cut another $420 million, on top of the pay cut

    Vermont economy has been too large for Vermont anemic economy for decades.
    The gravy train has to end sometime, if Vermont is to survive.

  3. Thank you Governor Scott. It’s encouraging to see someone demonstrating fiscal restraint. If it were up to the Dem/Lib/Progs, they would try to RAISE TAXES 8%!!!!

  4. I want to see a 10% cut in spending every year for 4 years with an equal reduction in taxes and fees. And an act that tells schools and towns they also cannot raise taxes for 4 years. If they can’t figure out how to do that, they don’t belong in government.

  5. My company is faced with a 90% budget cut. When the gazillion dollars of freshly printed free money runs out we are all getting laid off. But that’s not how it works if you work for the state of Vermont. An 8% reduction is a joke. How about cutting the budget in half and cutting our taxes. Income, sales, and the fees. Tell Tim Ashe how much money he has to work with and let him figure out the rest. We’re not the ones who ran up the yearly operating expense…it was he and the rest of the progressive criminals who have their hands in the pockets of working Vermonters.

  6. Let’s see if the Governor folds on this 8% reduction, from all the foolish bills being
    presented for 2020 he should have asked for a 20% reduction.

    In order to get Vermont back on its feet, we have the virus in Montpelier, and it’s called
    LPSA ” Liberal Politicians Spending Agenda.” …….. that’s all they care about !!

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