The House last week passed H.740, its largest state budget bill. The 188-page bill appropriates a total of over $8.12 billion in funding, much more than a typical budget, by utilizing the remaining federal recovery funds and one-time surpluses, the Lake Champlain Chamber Advocacy newsletter reports.
This total includes $120M of one-time General Fund appropriations, and $428M of ARPA appropriations in FY23, but excludes $200M of FY 2022 one-time transfers related to pensions. You can see more detail here.
“The budget makes major investments in workforce development, fighting climate change, housing, state IT infrastructure, broadband and shoring up the state employees and teachers pension funds, among other things,” according to a report by Leonine Public Affairs.
Gov. Scott has expressed concern that state spending focuses less on one-time major investments and more on funding programs that are likely to need ongoing funding, even after federal funding has dried up.
The House also passed the yield bill, H.737, the Lake Champlain Chamber reports. It deals with most of the ~$95 million surpluses that has been widely discussed this session. H.716 (miscellaneous education law changes), H.703 (omnibus workforce bill with $15 million for CTE), and S.286 (pensions) are also considered being funded by the $95.7 surplus in the yield bill.
Those aren’t the only major spending bills in Montpelier this year. According to Leonine, the separate Transportation Bill “also sets records with large increases in paving, bridge maintenance and alternative transportation upgrades and initiatives. The Capital Bill, H.739, allocates $21.5 million for expanding cell service coverage.”