Statement from Governor Phil Scott on the Close of the 2017 Legislative Session
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement regarding the passage of a state budget during the legislative veto session, which achieves millions in education savings.
“I am very pleased to have reached an agreement with the Legislature on an education savings proposal that realizes savings from the Vermont Education Health Initiative’s (VEHI) transition of health care plans. This agreement will save Vermont taxpayers millions of dollars and provides a path to achieve greater efficiency in the future. With this proposal in place, the Legislature passed a budget today that – for the first time in recent memory – does not raise taxes and fees.
“Further, with the savings achieved through the agreement, property tax rates will not rise this year. Residential property tax rates will be lower and non-residential rates – including businesses, renters and camp owners – will remain the same as Fiscal Year 2017. This is good news for Vermont, represents the first real reduction in the tax burden in generations, and we will continue to push for fiscal responsibility in the coming session.
“The budget I proposed in January made critical investments in economic development, affordable housing, higher education, addressing our opiate epidemic, and protecting our impaired waterways. As is always the case with the legislative process, there was disagreement on how to prioritize investments, find savings and achieve balance without raising taxes and fees. But, in the end, we passed legislation and a budget that will make a real difference in the lives of Vermonters.
“That progress includes the $35 million housing bond and investments in small business development centers and downtown development I proposed – each of which will drive economic growth. Additionally, I called for increased investment in early care and learning, technical and higher education, and economic development marketing. While I’d like to have seen more investment in these areas, this budget took an important step toward a cradle-to-career continuum of learning and growing our economy.
“The budget that passed today is the result of hard work and compromise. I thank each member of my Administration, the Legislature, and all in state government for their work and commitment to serving Vermonters. We have more to do to change the trajectory of our state, but I am very proud of what we achieved together this session.”