Governor Phil Scott focuses on budget initiatives during weekly briefing
Vermont Governor Phil Scott used his weekly briefing Tuesday to call on the Legislature to advance his budget priorities.
The Republican is proposing a $100 million package that he says will help the state’s economy, spur growth and help businesses harmed by the pandemic.
“The federal money as well as the significant budget surpluses truly give us a once in a lifetime opportunity to take transformative steps forward, which is why I keep talking about it," Scott said. "This was a comprehensive package with the initiatives working together to have the greatest impact.”
Scott’s proposal includes millions of dollars for housing and infrastructure along with economic development and jobs initiatives. But Scott is disappointed with lack of action in the Vermont House.
“Unfortunately the House didn’t include this $100 million package in the budget they passed a week and a half ago, saying the Senate would cover economic development. The problem is they didn’t budget for it and spent the money on other things which makes the House-passed budget out of balance. So if the Senate decides to include these important investments in their budget they’ll be forced to cut the House’s proposals," Scott said. "To be clear the Senate is working on an economic development bill. But like the housing bill they’re also working on they’ve included provisions I vetoed in the past. So again let’s put aside the areas of disagreement and pass clean bills that we can all support.”
Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein reiterated many of the governor’s sentiments and says Vermont has the opportunity to infuse federal money directly into the state economy.
“Think about what we could do if millions more were invested in economic development. Jobs, housing, new business, new green spaces and revitalized communities can flourish. The general lack of development in Vermont over the years has led to our housing supply shortage and the inability to grow the tax base in so many of our towns," Goldstein said. "COVID has spent two years continuing to harm development and damaging the financial stability of some of our most important sectors. ARPA has given us the resources to bring historic development projects to every corner of the state. Let’s use these funds as they were intended.”
Governor Scott was asked again if he plans to run for re-election.
“I’m not ready to announce anything at this point in time," the governor said. "But I did make a commitment I’d do so before, by the end of the session and if they adhere to I think they had targeted May 6th. So it’ll be sometime between now and then.”
A request for comment to the Vermont House Speaker’s office about the governor’s remarks was not returned in time for broadcast.