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Statement from Governor Phil Scott's Office on the Natural Resource, Fish and Wildlife Committee's Tax Bill

February 28, 2017

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott’s Communications Director Rebecca Kelley today issued the following statement:

“Today the House Natural Resource, Fish and Wildlife Committee released a memo and draft legislation that would add over $30 million in new revenue on the backs of Vermonters and businesses, beginning in 2019. Governor Scott has been clear that Vermonters and Vermont businesses cannot afford to pay more and that he will not sign a budget or a bill this year that adds new taxes, fees or surcharges. He campaigned on this commitment, and was elected by a strong majority of Vermonters to see it through.

“Treasurer Beth Pearce has proposed an interim plan to fund the State’s clean water efforts, and the Governor’s FY 2018 Capital and Transportation budgets commit the full $50 million the Treasurer recommends for those two years. This plan gives the Legislature time to fully review financial tools and existing revenue sources to fund clean water efforts. It also gives time to work with key stakeholders, and develop a framework for allocating the funding across sectors to ensure the balance of the investment is made in accordance with expectations established in Act 64, and the accountability framework Vermont provided to the EPA. Making decisions now about the appropriate funding source two to three years away is premature at best. Why the Legislature would not take that time to explore alternatives and think creatively – and, instead, instinctively turn to increasing taxes and fees on Vermonters, whether this year or two years down the road – is baffling.

“We face a crisis of affordability that’s contributing to a shrinking workforce and making it harder to grow the economy. Continuing to make Vermont less affordable is the wrong approach. In contrast, Governor Scott has proposed a tax relief package that encourages innovation, economic development and energy efficiency, and a balanced budget that does not raise taxes and fees, while investing in protecting our impaired waterways.

“Vermonters need State Government to focus on growing the economy and making Vermont more affordable, which will generate the resources we need to increase investment in priority areas like clean water.”