Looks like vetoes for budget, pension bill

by Leonine Public Affairs

Governor Phil Scott drew a not-so-surprising line in the sand last week on both the FY2023 budget and the plan to reform the state’s pension program. On Tuesday the governor issued statements criticizing both bills, saying the legislature focused too much on growing government in the budget and that his input was not considered in formulating S.286, the pension bill. He did not use the word “veto”, but the implication was clear – he will veto both bills if his concerns are not addressed before they reach his desk.
On Wednesday Senate President pro-tem Becca Balint and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jane Kitchel held a press conference, defending the Senate budget and criticizing the governor for “weighing in at the 11th hour” on the pension bill. They said the governor’s budget proposal fails to adequately support the severely overextended mental health system at a time when it is needed more than ever. They criticized the governor for asking the legislature to negotiate a pension deal with labor organizations and then raising concerns with the agreement after it was finalized.
For his part Governor Scott said the legislature is not doing enough to support workforce development and tax relief. He also called for state pension reforms that would give new employees a choice in benefit plans and require employees to share more risk with the state. He said that without these structural changes Vermont would face another pension crisis in the next decade.
The clash between the executive and legislative branches over spending has been brewing for weeks. This is the third fiscal year in a row where the state has been working with a massive infusion of federal cash, but FY2021 and FY2022 were defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, when Democratic lawmakers and the Republican governor put their differences aside and avoided big budget fights. The atmosphere around the FY2023 budget debate is shaping up to resemble the standoffs prior to the pandemic, when Scott battled with Democratic supermajorities for ownership of the state budget.  
The legislature is on track to finish their work within the 18-week allotted time frame. They could adjourn as early as the first week in May. However, unless the House, Senate and Governor Scott do some serious work to compromise, there is a likelihood of a veto session later in May or June, with a lot of negotiating in between.  

Leonine Public Affairs is a consulting, advocacy and lobbying group in Montpelier.

4 replies »

  1. Totalitarian systems, fascism, have overemphasized the mental health system. There are real alternatives for those in need. However, the weaponization of the mental health system against dissent is evil and venerable in the bag of dirty tricks.

  2. The irony of Becca Balint and Jane Kitchel screeching about the underfunded and overburdened mental healthcare system. Seriously?! Their policies and their actions are the cause of the mental health issues in this State. Moreover, it’s not a new problem caused by COVID, it started years ago. Phil is not exempt from the blame considering his pandering to the Left and going along with the coercion extortion game called COVID. Swimming in Federal dollars is now going to turn into drowning in catastrophic debt. The long game of squandering taxpayer money is over! Most people are teetering on bankruptcy and consumer debt is far higher than 2008 thanks again to their policies and their actions.

  3. From fiscal matters, to climate change, over regulation, social justice, state pension matters, unwarranted constitutional amendments, crime, attacking the police, marijuana promotion and on and on, the Vermont legislature is out of touch with the people…….Out of touch with the people and subservient to lobbyists, activists and special interests……..This is wrong.

    Time for the Governor to buy more veto pens, use them and bring the legislature back in touch with the people.

  4. Agree with all above and might add…there seems to be a problem with the legislatures esp these 2 NOT LISTENING, which is fairly common these days…….listen to the people folks or…well I dont know but I do believe alot of people are going to be leaving this state and you’ll have just those to care for left….or something like that

Leave a Reply