Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today reacted to the end of the legislative session at his weekly press conference.
A full transcript of prepared remarks from Governor Scott can be found below. You can watch the full press conference, including the question-and-answer portion, by clicking here.
Good afternoon, and thanks for being here.
I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about where we’re at, after the end of the session.
There were about 60 bills that passed during the last two weeks of the session and as you know, at that time of year, things can change quickly or be added at the last minute, without much notice.
So, as is typical, I won’t be making any decisions on individual bills until we receive and review them, using the five days I have to take action.
And just for awareness, I don’t have any bills on my desk at this point. Legislative Council will take whatever time they need to review the bills and get signatures from legislative leaders before I start getting bills, typically in batches.
That’s a long way of saying you shouldn’t expect any action this week, or early next.
Taking a step back, in January, I presented a budget to the Legislature that was balanced, prioritized Vermonters and communities, helped make Vermont more affordable with tax relief, and made investments in shared priorities like childcare, climate change mitigation, Infrastructure, workforce, and more.
The good news is the Legislature included funding for most of those initiatives.
The bad news is they spent a lot more money than I proposed and relied on regressive taxes and fees to fund the added spending, which I believe is unsustainable given the economic uncertainty ahead of us.
As I have repeatedly said, we can make historic progress on our shared goals without increasing costs on already-overburdened Vermonters.
What I put forward was sustainable – something we can afford next year and into the future. And we can expand on those shared goals in the future if we have organic revenue growth.
I’ve been clear, I’m ready and willing to work with legislators to find the right balance between their approach and mine, because that’s what Vermonters elected us to do.
As I said in my adjournment address, a majority of Vermonters voted for me in the last election in every single town – while also electing them.
Vermonters voted for balance and expected us to work together. But they’ve also been loud and clear with me: they didn’t think Vermont was affordable enough before this legislative session.
That’s why I have serious concerns about the financial impacts of what they passed.
Between a nearly $100 million dollar payroll tax, $20 million in DMV fees, $30 million in property tax pressure, at least $180 million in potential clean heat mandates… that works out to roughly $1,200 per household per year.
I worry about everyday Vermonters already facing cost increases due to inflation.
I worry about lower-income single moms who won’t significantly benefit from what was passed this year but will pay more in taxes and fees to help families with higher incomes. Or the seniors living on fixed incomes who are already living on the edge and won’t see any benefits but will face higher costs.
It’s no secret I have some disagreement with the approach lawmakers have taken.
So I’ll once again make this appeal, which you in the press are now familiar with. We share the same goals. We both support making historic investments in shared priorities. But we must do it in a way Vermonters can afford.
We have five weeks between now and when they come back at the end of June.
Vermonters want us to work together, and I’m ready to do just that.