Floor Speech by Rep. Lisa Hango at the end of 2023 Session
Madam Speaker –
Here we sit, concluding our business of passing legislation – initiatives requiring new funding sources, adding hundreds of millions of dollars that will burden working Vermonters by increasing taxes and fees across many sectors. While this budget contains many worthy programs, I cannot support this unsustainable increase. Tens of millions of those dollars are allocated to new positions within State government to administer these new programs or to expand existing ones. That leads me to a real dilemma: On one hand, we are desperate for more workers; yet on the other hand, we are driving those very workers away from our State.
Madam Speaker, for $3.5 million, we have had the opportunity each year that I have sat in this seat, to attract and retain a ready-made, skilled workforce. Sadly, this legislation has remained on the wall – a bill to exempt all military pensions and survivors benefits from state income tax – a bill that would honor the sacrifices that families have made for our freedom to sit here today. $3.5 million dollars in the scheme of spending hundreds of millions of dollars is a drop in the bucket.
It is my hope that when we return in January, we can finally put aside our differences and come together to do the right thing to honor the men and women and their families who served or gave the ultimate sacrifice with this modest measure of gratitude.