Note: At his weekly press conference Wednesday, Governor Phil Scott and his Cabinet commented on the proposed House budget. A transcript of opening remarks from Governor Scott can be found below, and you can watch the press conference by clicking here.
Good afternoon, thank you for being here today.
In January, I talked about how those of us in the State House need to focus on the fundamentals; to consider the impact and the cost of every decision we make on the families and places that need our help most; and to prioritize communities that have been left behind for far too long.
And as I said then, thanks to all the federal recovery money and state surpluses, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that: increase economic equity from region to region, which will benefit our communities and families all across the state.
This team behind me, and their teams behind them, worked for months building this budget with these goals in mind, putting together policies and making strategic investments so that all the pieces work together, in order to put us in better financial shape for decades to come.
The budget we presented to the Legislature in January prioritized low- and moderate-income Vermonters with tax relief, historic childcare subsidies, increased dental care, permanent homes for the homeless, more housing for middle-income families, upgrades to water and sewer in mobile home parks, weatherizing homes, funding for career training, and more.
Next, we focused on revitalizing communities with a plan to bring back employers to rural parts of the state, cleaning up contaminated industrial sites, and focusing on small business development, housing, growing the workforce, and supporting community-led public safety.
We also made sure there was State money to leverage federal funding for the next three to four years so we can help communities by upgrading roads, bridges, water, sewer, stormwater, and more.
But unfortunately, the budget coming out of House Appropriations cuts or removes almost every single initiative I just talked about.
Not only that, but they also increased the State General Fund budget over last year by 12 percent. Twelve percent!
They did that by spending over $60 million more than I proposed in ongoing base expenditures.
They also put a lot of pressure on future budgets by doing things like only paying for one third of the startup costs of their paid leave program, leaving $74 million unfunded over the next two years.
They’re banking on — or hoping — these unprecedented fiscal times, fueled by federal dollars and state surpluses, will continue, when in fact their own economist says the opposite is true.
And it’s not just the startup costs for their generous new programs, it’s ongoing money from tax increases for the benefits that come along with it. Not to mention the very real financial harm to Vermonters caused by the clean heat standard that the House has yet to take up.
Three initiatives alone could add a half a billion dollars in costs on Vermonters every single year.
What’s also been lost is we’re already moving forward with a voluntary paid family and medical leave plan. We bargained it with state employees, and it will open up to businesses and individuals over the next two years — and it will be voluntary, without having to add over 60 new state positions we’ll struggle to hire.
And I’ve also proposed $56 million in our budget, to increase childcare subsidies. This has been done without raising taxes and fees at a time when economic anxiety and inflation is already high.
To put it simply: we can achieve shared goals — which I truly share — without putting us on an unsustainable economic path.
I believe one of the reasons I was elected was to bring balance, common sense and pragmatism to the table. And I think I’ve proven over the years that I’m not an alarmist.
But I have to say I’m very concerned with the direction we’re heading in. And it’s not because some of my proposals have been cut. I understand the process, and neither side gets everything they want, that’s how it works. But this year feels different.
I’m truly worried about the seniors on fixed income, the working families who can’t afford to pay more, and the communities who need our help. And I worry about how we will possibly pay for all of this as we look towards an uncertain economic future.
In my opinion, if this budget were to pass, with all the big-ticket initiatives that come all at once, it has the potential to hurt Vermont in both the short and long run. So, I hope Vermonters are paying attention.
Our budget proposal was built through a collaborative thoughtful process where we weighed priorities and focused on those who need our help most. It was balanced, and we fully funded new initiatives. It invested in future expenses to make sure we could ride out the economic downturn that’s coming, and we did all of it without raising taxes or fees.
I’m sorry to say the House budget does not meet these same principles.
To make room for the $50-plus million in increased spending in the BAA — which by the way, I warned against — they had to siphon off from every bucket they possibly could. They also had to increase taxes and fees, including on those who can least afford it.
And the reality is, this budget and the half-a-billion-dollars in new taxes, fees and penalties, could eventually pass — even if I veto it — because they have a supermajority.
If that happens, we’ll not only have squandered this once in a lifetime opportunity, but we’ll have turned it into a liability.
So, from my perspective, this is not business as usual in this building. And it’s more important than ever for Vermonters to know what decisions are being made, and make their voices heard by calling their legislators.
12 thoughts on “Gov. Phil Scott warns about House budget”
I once asked a Legislature “How are we going to pay for that?”. She replied “ we discussed that and decided these are things we need to do. We will worry about that later”. We need Healthcare in our communities. Not healthcare the green mountain board decides what is adequate! We need an education system that teaches, math, science, technology, history, engineering and how to run a household. Not how to protest, change your sex and live off the government. We need to fulfill the obligation in the retirement system and make it sustainable. We need to promote small farms and other small businesses. There are many priorities that are not being funded that need to be put at the front of the list before an EV power station.
Hey Phil, how about acting like a ” Governor”, I thought we hired you to run the state,
we didn’t expect you to let the Liberals run it into the ground. Liberals are cancerous,
that’s killing Vermont.
Leadership starts with leading, not following…………pathetic !!
The largest problem in Vermont is that there is no prioritization of funding. The legislature considers each new proposed bill in a vacuum. If it makes them feel good, it passes without regard to cost. This has gotten so bad that over the last few years our lawmakers have become uncomfortable when questioned about the costs and effect on the taxpayer. That is why we are seeing laws passed and an unaccountable “council” or “committee” assigned to figure how to forcibly fund the unaffordable program.
We need them to accept their responsibility, determine what total cost is affordable to the state (it certainly is significantly lower than what we are paying now) and, if a proposed new program leads to exceeding that cost, what will be cut to afford it.
Few of our “leaders” have that concern for our citizens and the courage to speak that truth.
Agree, let’s prioritize what the people need before what the elitist ideologues want.
Well Phil you voted for the potato head who’s causing all the financial troubles we are in and the leftist commies in the legislature did as well. How they can turn a blind eye to the predicament the middle and poor class is in is beyond me. They must have others do their shopping like the elites in the swamp who spout the economies great… Elect America haters you get overlords who hate Americans. Anyone who thought biden would be a uniter obviously had not been paying attention to his 48 years of lying while a swamp creature.. you traded mean tweets for economic disaster.
I agree with #14. These girls in the legislature have good intentions, and they want to make themselves feel good by being like Santa Clause with the money, but their plans are not realistic. I haven’t dug too deep into the proposed budget, but we all saw this coming.
Meanwhile, today, here in Essex Jct, I saw a young(ish) lady dropping off bags of 5 cent cans and bottles that were covered by mud. I didn’t ask, but 2 + 2 still equals that she went collecting along the road, and I doubt it was because the economy is so robust and she just felt like it. Her pickup also held a sizeable scrap metal collection.
There are homeless people living across from me, hiding between the overgrown cedar hedge and the neighbor’s fence.
There is a long line at the food shelf.
WCAX still broadcasts about how things are so rosy and there are plenty of “jobs” available. Just don’t open your eyes and look around: keep your nose close to the government-paid job you got somehow, and don’t lift your eyes.
The FED can’t even help the people at the site of the worst chemical spill in our nation’s history: they seem to be out of resources. Maybe because they’ve spent to the limit at assisting the new immigrant (slaves) streaming across the borders, luring them into jobs that will grind them into poverty paying taxes on benefits they can not collect. If they’re lucky.
Whatever you do, don’t open your eyes, Vermont. Let’s just pretend your fake bank account buoyed by false promises now being reneged upon by the swamp will hold you through. 2nd and 3rd largest bank failures in American history are nothing, as long as you listen to CBS and the like.
You nailed it! Vermont liberals 3 legged stool. The state is too busy sexualizing children, making everything racist and if you disagree it labeled misinformation. This is the 3 legged stool is to deflect away from the incompetence of the ruling class. Is Vermont better than when they decided to take over and move here in numbers, NO it’s much worse. And you can thank a democrat/progressive cult member for ruining a once conservative state that didn’t need their grand failure.
Dano, I live in NH.
Our parking lots at the stores over here have significant numbers of Vermont plates now parked here shopping.
I’m from here, it never used to be this way.
So guess what I did Dano, I started talking to these people and asking them what is going on!
I hear the same story over and over again, they are coming here to shop, get what they need at cheaper prices. Then I hear a story of what happened to put them in that boat. It’s all the stuff of life falling apart, but when you were already existing on the ragged edge, it takes very little to wipe you out.
And get this, another thing I hear.. they simply don’t have everything they need over there. They come here for specific things often.. well hello, what the heck. It sounds like a Third World mess.. how can a state not even have everything their population needs?
So not only is Vermont falling into deep decline, then the state appears to not even be set up for it. For all this money Vermont spends, the basic needs for the poor people the state creates are not even there – or at prices they can afford.
Dano I was at the local Salvation Army store recently and a couple had their VT minivan loaded to the roof with stuff.. she told me that SHE owns a thrift store and struggles to even get inventory for it and comes over here for it.
You know why that happens Dano, there is nothing left to give!
The steady supply of second hand stuff from better off people that donate it has dried up..
THAT how bad things are getting over there.
I’ll give you all a hint; it’s not their studies, their charts and their graphs that tell the real story of how things are, it’s stories like this that do.
I mean for cripes sake, this is nuts.. things have NEVER been like this before.
I have to give Phil Scott some credit for calling these people out and making at least an attempt to reel things in.
What he needs to do now is play hardball and tell them NO.. and hold to that firmly.
These people are like children that don’t want to lose their toy.. and someone needs to now be the adult in the room.
He’s the governor, so when this all crashes and burns, which is going too, that will happen on his watch and the people that did this will be all too pleased to pin their failures on him– just as they blame Donald Trump for everything.
So he needs to see this coming and play hardball to avoid all this.
I truly believe he better be thinking about what the history books are going to say about how he plays this right now.. In my opinion, he needs to be incredibly frugal and do what his gut is saying..and block out all the wailing bellyachers that didn’t get their way.
We’re in a terrible spot up here now thanks to these delusional Liberals that never should have been voted in. My own state now has a whole lot of issues thanks to the disasters unfolding along all our borders..
It’s quite interesting to me that Vermont is so concerned about saving the planet as they destroy their own piece of it.
Driving people into deep poverty, driving people to addiction and suicide, breaking up families in despair, driving people to flee the state, this is not success!
What is Benedict Scott worried about as he is a willing accomplice in the demise of Vermont aiding the merry Marist’s in it’s death
He is an accomplice and the worst governor VT has ever had. He’s so nice people think, when in actuality he has brought this on himself by not being the republican he claims to be. He voted for Biden, called us all racists, unconstitutionally locked the state down and pushed the poison so-called vax on everyone because of the covid money flooding VT from the 6 trillion the fed spent for the flu from China. He turned he’s back on conservative republicans and has lost his veto power through being a closet democrat and we suffer.
If it quacks like a lame duck….
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