© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vermont Governor discusses his budget veto during weekly briefing

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley
Vermont Governor Phil Scott (file)

On Saturday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed the state budget passed by the state legislature. During his weekly briefing Wednesday, the Republican said the taxes and fees included in the plan are unnecessary when there is a state surplus.

Governor Scott’s veto of the $8.5 billion budget bill was not unexpected. During his briefing on Wednesday the Republican said he is following through on his promise to bring balance and fiscal responsibility to state government.

“I vetoed the budget this weekend because It raises costs on everyday Vermonters, relies on a new payroll tax, increases DMV fees by 20 percent and grows base spending at more than twice the rate of inflation, which isn’t sustainable," said Scott. "As I made clear in my veto message, we continue to face an affordability crisis. We’re simply too expensive for far too many people. And with high inflation the last thing we should be doing is adding to the affordability problem by imposing new and higher taxes, fees and penalties. It’s especially true when we have record surpluses. But unfortunately, that’s what this does.”

Among the more controversial aspects of the budget is the termination of funding for a pandemic program that provided housing in hotels and motels to low-income and homeless individuals. When federal funding ended, the state continued it and has spent more than $190 million on the voucher program. It will be phased out by July. Seventeen Democratic and Progressive legislators say they will sustain the governor’s veto in order to move a proposal to keep the program. But Governor Scott, who says the pandemic program does not provide needed services, doubts they will actually follow through.

“I could probably get 18 Republicans if we had a common sense proposal that we could compromise that I could get their votes to get it across the finish line," Scott noted. "So it’s not all about the 17 that are unwilling to move forward without, or maybe even sustain, my veto in order to get what they want. But you know I have to be realistic and I think we all have to be. I’ve seen this play out in other scenarios and my bet is some of those who have said that they would sustain the veto would probably come home to the party and the party would probably take precedent over their principles.”

Before his briefing, Scott vetoed S.39, a bill to increase state legislators’ pay and benefits. Supporters say higher pay will motivate greater diversity and more candidates to run for the legislature. But Scott says there are far-reaching ramifications to the proposal.

“This is setting themselves up for longer sessions, probably, ah, I think there are some who feel that we are destined for a year-round session, a full-time legislature, which Vermont does not need. So I would like to do all I can to prevent that from happening.”

The legislature’s veto session begins June 20th. Vermont’s fiscal year begins July 1st.

Related Content