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TRANSCRIPT: Governor Phil Scott Delivers Adjournment Address

May 12, 2023

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today delivered his annual adjournment address to lawmakers.

A transcript of the Senate-version of Governor’s prepared adjournment remarks can be found below:

Governor Scott: Mr. President, Pro Tem. Baruth, Leader Clarkson, Leader Brock, and Members of the Senate.

It’s always good to be back in the ‘Green Room,’ having spent 16 years working in this chamber.

And every one of those years, Vanessa Davidson was working – mostly behind the scenes – making sure the train was running on schedule. We’ll certainly miss her diligence, expertise, and loyalty to this body.

And I appreciate being here today, despite our differences and disagreements because that’s the way government should work. We can negotiate the issues, work towards consensus and compromise or, as appears to be the case this year, agree to disagree in some areas – all while remaining civil and respectful.


When I addressed you at the start of the session, I said – thanks to billions in federal aid, and the fiscal discipline we’d practiced for three years leading up to the pandemic – we were in good financial shape and could build our FY24 budget with hundreds of millions in state surplus.

I asked you to work with me, to seize the moment to change the trajectory of our state, and specifically for communities that have been left behind for far too long.

To me, that meant following through on what we started two years ago: focusing on the fundamentals, using these historic, one time stimulus funds to revitalize our county economic centers and the communities that surround them. Investing in basic infrastructure like housing, broadband, roads and bridges, climate resiliency, and the water, sewer and stormwater systems needed for both clean water and economic growth. At the same time, we proposed ideas to address our workforce challenges, including making historic investments in childcare, tax relief for Vermonters who need it most, strengthening downtowns, and workforce training and recruitment with a renewed focus on Career Technical Education. Because this is how I think we make Vermont better: By helping families and communities get ahead.

And you supported a number of these initiatives.

That includes investments to welcome more refugees, who then contribute to our workforce and communities; and grants to make it easier for smaller, long-forgotten towns and villages to access federal funds.

We expanded important health services to more regions and more Vermonters, including dental care, mental health, and substance use treatment and prevention.

And while I truly believe we must do more on Act 250 in order to solve our housing crisis, we did take some steps toward smart regulatory reforms to build more housing, which we desperately need in many areas of the state.


But in January, I also talked about how important it was to consider the impact – and the cost – of every decision we make on the families and places that need our help most.

Because the fact is, for too many years our regional economic centers like Springfield, Bellows Falls, Bennington, St. Johnsbury, Rutland, Newport, and my hometown of Barre, have been asked to shoulder higher costs and more mandates, with fewer people.

From my perspective, in order to revitalize communities and welcome more workers across the state, we’ve got to make Vermont more affordable. With high inflation and the looming economic storm clouds on the horizon, Vermonters are nervous and already stretched too thin.

And to be clear, if we’re taking money out of one pocket to put it into the other, that’s not making anything more affordable.

Right now, it appears this is an area where we disagree.


Every single one of your towns elected me and you, because they wanted balance, and they want sustainable solutions at a price they can afford.

And it’s not as though we disagree on the goals. It’s the ‘how’ and the pace in which we get there where there is disagreement.

I know this isn’t what the majority of you want to hear, but I believe we’ll have another opportunity to give them that balance next month.

But it’s going to take both of us to make that happen.

Thank you again for respecting the process, and I hope you get to enjoy our beautiful state over the next few weeks.


Note: This is the version of the remarks delivered to the Senate. The Governor also gave similar remarks to the House of Representatives.