State Government

Legislature adds $1200/household spending this year, Scott warns

Veto decisions expected next week

by Guy Page

Spending decisions by this year’s Legislature will add an additional $1200 in annual spending to the average Vermont household, Governor Phil Scott said yesterday at his weekly press conference.

“Between a $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,” Scott said.

The governor said he won’t announce any vetoes until the middle of next week. But he made it clear that overspending by the Legislature will get a response from him.

Many of the big-spending bills have passed with an apparently veto-proof majority. However, a coalition of cost-conscious Republicans and Progressives upset with the ending of homeless hotel funding could be enough to sustain a veto of the $8.5 billion state budget.

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:

Governor Scott:

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 $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.

Categories: State Government

8 replies »

  1. An extra $1200 is way too much. I don’t want to pay for daycare for people making lots more than I get every month. I don’t think it’s right to expect seniors to take on the burden. Something different has to be done.

  2. The press should ask to see the math on these claims for the FY 2024 and FY 2025 years. The legislature has to provide a fiscal note from the Joint Fiscal office to justify it’s claims about finances.,%20Amendments,%20and%20Legal%20Documents/S.5~Joyce%20Manchester~Fiscal%20Note~4-20-2023.pdf

    The Clean Heat Standard appropriation is $1.7 million this year, not 180 million.

    The $180 million the Governor’s statement references is based on the discredited .70 per gallon calculation Sec. Julie Moore provided as a back of the napkin guess about potential impact if the program is enacted in 2025.

    This claim in this article is false in 2023 because the program is not fully enacted. This claim is false in 2024 because the program is not fully enacted. This claim is unknown in 2025 and completely dependent on the actions that year’s legislature and governor take based on the information the Public Utility Commission brings forward.

    • Rep Sibilia, I can’t believe anything you say, because when you said in your previous video that your lame bill was not a tax on Vermonters, but rather a tax on fossil fuel dealers I knew you were out to lunch (presumably on someone else’s dime). Can we just talk about economics 101? When Joe merchant decides to market product xyz to me, he first factors in his cost for said product, he then determines his desired (or necessary) profit margin, then he is able to determine his selling price (to me, Joe buyer) so that he is able to be profitable and competitive. If Joe merchant suddenly encounters a product price increase, he will have to increase the selling price to Joe buyer in order to operate at a sustainable, profitable level necessary for success. This then equals an increased cost (dare I say, TAX) to Joe buyer, thus negatively affecting him/her as they make the necessary, painful decisions regarding their survival. If you think we are too stupid to see this than you are arrogant beyond belief or just plain stupid yourself.

    • So I guess you had to pass the Unaffordable Heating Act in order to find out how much we’ll be paying in this new, though thoroughly obfuscated carbon tax.

      You say it’s not $.70 / gallon.

      But you don’t actually know, do you?

  3. How do they expect us senior citizens to come up with this. They are already killing us. We already have to make daily choices of skipping food or medicine to pay bills. Besides driving folks out of state and bringing in illegal aliens and giving them everything free