Gov. Phil Scott: A real economic recovery and resurgence

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Gov. Phil Scott.

At the start of every year, I get the opportunity to share my priorities, proposals and a State budget.

My team remains focused on responding to the pandemic, protecting Vermonters, and emerging as quickly as possible, with the fewest lives lost and a stronger, more resilient economy.

The pandemic has deepened problems we’ve grappled with for decades. Like the growing regional economic inequality we see, an aging population and shrinking workforce, a widening educational opportunity gap, and a mounting crisis of affordability.

U.S. Department of State

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott

But it has also presented us with a rare opportunity to take big steps in addressing both immediate needs and long-term challenges.

To take full advantage of this opportunity, my budget makes big investments in economic growth and job creation, downtown revitalization, infrastructure, broadband and climate change – all without raising taxes or fees or cutting essential services.

Importantly, my proposals seek to level the economic playing field from region to region, so every corner of Vermont has a chance to recover and thrive in the future. Because for far too long, places like the Champlain Valley have grown, while other parts of the state have watched their economic centers slowly erode.

By strengthening and revitalizing our communities and making them more attractive to the families and workers we need in Vermont, we will see our economy grow organically, and ensure we have the funding we need to protect the vulnerable, pay for schools, pave roads and continue to invest in priorities like childcare, climate change and mental health, well into the future.

The federal aid we’ve received will help us achieve these goals, but we must remember it’s one-time money, which means we won’t have it next year. That’s why we must invest in areas that lower costs in the future and drive economic growth.

With all of this in mind, my budget dedicates this one-time money to jumpstart projects that have been stalled for years, so communities can act now to build a prosperous future with more jobs, more opportunities and more security for Vermonters.

This starts with $17 million to enhance and rebuild downtowns and village centers, push much-needed repairs and community projects over the finish line, and help towns and businesses adapt to public health needs while keeping their economies going. I’ll also continue pushing to modernize Act 250 and make Tax Increment Financing – an economic development tool that’s revitalized areas like Winooski and South Burlington – available for small towns, so we can level the playing field and spur smart, responsible development in the places we need it. And I propose another $25 million to transform old industrial sites – which are a barrier to economic growth for places like Springfield and St. Johnsbury – from eyesores to opportunities, delivering both environmental health and economic benefits.

To further strengthen our communities and help them attract more families and workers, as well as more jobs, I’ve also proposed an additional $23 million for more housing Vermonters can afford and $20 million to expand broadband. All this while we continue our work to build the best cradle-to-career education system in the country with initiatives to strengthen childcare, PreK through 12 schools, career and technical education and our Vermont State Colleges.

I know families are hurting – with too many struggling long before the pandemic – and we face serious challenges from climate change to racial inequity and injustice. So, we’re also investing to address food insecurity, mental health and substance abuse, and to modernize policing and our criminal justice system. And I’ve proposed a $43 million climate change mitigation package, which will not only significantly reduce our carbon emissions, but also lower energy costs – from home heating and electricity to transportation costs – for Vermonters across the state.

I look forward to working with the Legislature to advance these priorities. If we can work together — and put the politics and partisan agendas aside — we can pass a budget that revitalizes our economy and truly transforms the future by setting us on a path that supports all Vermonters in every corner of our state.

Images courtesy of Public domain and U.S. Department of State

9 thoughts on “Gov. Phil Scott: A real economic recovery and resurgence

  1. We are getting billions of dollars once again. Notice he is talking about millions.

    Where do the billions go? Follow the money.

  2. Governor Scott’s proposal, as has been his past proposed budgets in the last four years, represents a practical approach to dealing with what we have to spend and as in many years in the past includes no new taxes or fees. Much of it will be opposed by the Democrats and Progressives in the legislature, not because it does not make sense but simply because a Republican Governor Scott proposed it.

  3. Maybe Montpelier should use the COVID “windfall” funds from the Federal Gov’t to help with teacher pension shortfall, OR to eliminate “$78 million in new (Vermont) taxes to pay for carbon reduction proposed”? (Except the $78M would be new recurring taxes ….?? )

  4. To spend $43 million on climate change which will supposedly reduce emissions? This for a state that has one of the lowest emission rates in the country and is touted as one of the cleanest states in which to live? This makes no sense. How about helping small business owners get back on their feet?
    And please, please stop listening to falsehood Fauchi…..I don’t know for whom he is working, but it certainly isn’t for the American people!!

  5. No, we do not face serious challenges from climate change. We face a non-issue, and if we look out our doors at the snow and cold, no amount of gaslighting should be able to convince us that we’re going to burn the planet up from a gas that’s 0.04% of an atmosphere that has 1/1000th the heat capacity of the oceans. It doesn’t even pass the smell test.

    My advice to the Governor would be to stop listening to Dr. Fauci. Listen instead to the people who’ve been recommending a safe drug to combat Covid-19, ivermectin, which Dr. Kory has compared to penicillin in its potential to be a game-changer. I don’t know who Dr. Fauci is working for, but it’s not the American people.

    Please, Governor, stop listening to the Fearmonger-in-Chief. Get on board the ivermectin train, get those vaccines out, and open up Vermont. The cure as been at least as bad as the disease and we need to stop this insanity. It’s time for our mantra to be “stay free,” and not “stay safe.” “Stay safe” can lead to all kinds of abuses, and the evidence is all around us in broken businesses and livelihoods and liberties. Enough of this cowardly bowing to every little thing that comes out of Dr. Fauci’s mouth. He is NOT on our side.

  6. Scott what makes you think you can fix the economic recovery and resurgence. You haven’t done anything for Vermont since you took office.
    You are nothing but a puppet for the left. You don’t care for Vermonters. you just care for all the out of staters who came here to take over and you are letting them.
    You bow down to them. every time they pull on your strings/ I hate to tell you, you weren’t voted in by Republicans but by the democrats/progressives. in other words by the commies.
    You are a disgrace to Vermont.
    Instead of an R after your name, it should be a D.just like Sanders who claims he’s an Independent which he isn’t he’s a democrat.
    So keep spouting off how you can help Vt.. because all you have done is Hurt us.. You listen to the left way to long, they had you believing that you were King Scott..You’re not..

  7. Spending more money than anyone else of the last 20 years hasn’t worked.

    Why would we think it will work now? Our problem isn’t we need to spend more money in Vermont, that is not our problem. It is very convenient for politicians to say this and everybody lines their pockets with tax payer money.

    Meanwhile Vermont doesn’t change, we march head strong into the poverty winds of socialism, crony capitalist’s, first cousin.

    If spending money solved problems, Vermont would certainly…….have no problems. People don’t move to state based upon how much tax money they spend. Try again.

    • Neil,

      These are the same type of people who said 20 years ago, give us a lot of money and we will set up a slew of government programs that will benefit our friends and reduce CO2 at the same time.

      Well, we were partially successful after 20 years.

      Our friends benefited, I and others got re-elected multiple times, but CO2 went up.

      However, this time, we set up a fool-proof way with our brand-new GWSA, which mandates everything, plus we left the any spoil-sport Governor out of it.

      We can’t miss.

      Just give us 5 times as much money EACH YEAR and we will get it right this time.

      I am from Missouri and I have a bridge…….

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