- Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has proposed an $8.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2025.
- Scott urged lawmakers not to raise taxes or fees for Vermont residents, saying it will be a tough budget year.
- In 2023, Scott vetoed the $8.5 billion budget, but the Democratic-controlled legislature overrode his veto.
Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday proposed an $8.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2025 and, as he has done before, urged lawmakers not to raise taxes or fees for Vermonters, saying it will be a tough budget year.
The budget proposal makes investments in the priorities the governor focused on earlier this month in his state-of-the-state address: affordability, public safety and housing.
“I also understand the realities of a supermajority, which means you don’t have to listen, or even consider, my priorities or objections,” he told lawmakers assembled in the House chamber for his budget address. “But I bet many of you do hear, and maybe even share, some of my concerns. More importantly, I’m pretty sure the majority of our constituents certainly do.”
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Scott urged lawmakers to work with the administration to fix, not just fund, the problems.
Last year, Scott vetoed the $8.5 billion budget bill that was largest spending plan in state history. But the Democratic-controlled legislature overrode his veto.
He said Tuesday that he doesn’t believe there will be a lot of disagreement about what is in his budget plan but likely in what is not included. Federal pandemic-era funds have ended, and the state has returned to pre-pandemic spending levels, he warned. While the state had a recent increase in revenues, it has had unexpected costs, too, he said.,
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House Speaker Jill Krowinski, a Democrat, said Vermont has challenges, but it also has opportunities. “I think his speech was long on fear and short on hope,” she told WCAX-TV.
Among the investments are $4.9 million of the opioid settlement funds to increase the amount of staff and hours in three or more hubs for drug treatment and to support the work of re-entry and recovery centers for those leaving incarceration, according to the budget summary. He also suggests investing $1.7 million for 20 mental health workers in state police barracks and $6 million in a program that provides grants to improve vacant rental housing units and add housing units to existing buildings.
After catastrophic flooding hit Vermont in July, Scott proposes using $12.5 million to help communities with their state match requirements for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to mitigate flood hazards and $500,000 for a state match for federal funding to evaluate future flood measures for the Winooski River.