GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT HIGHLIGHTS PATH FORWARD ON FISCAL YEAR 2019 STATE BUDGET
Montpelier, Vt. – Late Saturday evening, Governor Phil Scott offered the following statement on the fiscal year 2019 budget passed by the state Legislature:
“I want to thank the Legislature for their hard work on the budget for the coming fiscal year. It makes key investments I identified in January, and there is agreement on many important priorities.
“However, 18 months ago, Vermonters elected me on the promise to grow Vermont’s economy, make Vermont more affordable and protect the most vulnerable. This came with a clear commitment to fiscal responsibility that gives Vermonters a break from years of constant tax increases that are contributing to the crisis of affordability many families and businesses are facing.
“The budget passed by the Legislature today authorizes a level of spending that can only be met with new and higher taxes. I have been clear: This is an unacceptable approach, particularly in a year in which we have had an additional $82 million dollars in organic revenue growth, $34 million in unanticipated funds from the Attorney General’s tobacco settlement and $44 million in revenue surpluses to build a budget. That’s $160 million more revenue available to them without raising taxes.
“Yet, despite this strong revenue position, the Legislature voted to increase Vermonters’ taxes by nearly $50 million, including $33.4 million in property taxes.
“These decisions were made despite multiple paths offered to prevent these unnecessary tax hikes, including my five-year plan to hold property tax rates level for five years – providing nearly $200 million in property tax relief – and increase efficiency in the education system, generating hundreds of millions in additional savings to invest in kids and educational opportunities.
“The good news is we will have another chance in the coming days and weeks to ensure we don’t add to the tax burden of Vermonters, while still increasing our investment in growing the economy, making Vermont affordable and protecting the vulnerable.”