Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement on the Senate version of the fiscal year 2023 budget:
In January, I presented a balanced budget that included investments to grow the economy by adding housing, expanding broadband, combatting climate change and more. To help make Vermont more affordable, I also proposed progressive and broad tax relief.
We also made significant investments in protecting the most vulnerable, like money to prevent substance abuse, and permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness.
You’ve heard me talk about my concerns with the House-passed budget, and while the Senate version is better and comes closer to the budget I proposed, there are still some major differences.
While I appreciate both the House and Senate funded many shared priorities, they’ve focused more on government systems. We must take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the economy, revitalize communities and make Vermont more affordable for workers, families and those who create jobs.
For example, from what we’ve seen thus far, the Senate budget reduces or eliminates funding I proposed for:
- Substance abuse prevention programs;
- Tax relief for seniors on fixed incomes, military veterans, low-income Vermonters, nurses and childcare workers and more;
- Economic development for rural and small communities that have seen economic stagnation and decline over the last ten years;
- A capital investment program, which would help small businesses like childcare centers and local general stores survive and recover from the pandemic;
- Career and Technical Education;
- Workforce retention and recruitment initiatives;
- Cell phone tower expansion;
- and more.
These are the type of investments we must make in order to help all corners of the state see more prosperity and opportunity.
The fact is, investing in initiatives to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable and retain and attract the workers we desperately need will do far more to change our trajectory than the bridge funding the legislature has prioritized.
While the Senate version has moved in the right direction, it still doesn’t make the most of the unprecedented opportunity we have before us. But fortunately, there’s still time to come together to make sure we are prioritizing long-term growth over short-term fixes.