State Government

State spending rose 25% in last two years – and more is coming

By Rob Roper

Steve Klein of the Joint Fiscal Office briefed the Pension and Benefits Task Force, which is looking into how to fix the state’s $6 billion unfunded pension liabilities, on the current state budget as well as impending budget pressures in the pipeline. Klein’s slide show revealed a frightening increase in spending with daunting implications for Vermont taxpayers.

Page 5 of Klein’s report illustrated the overall growth in state spending from FY19 to FY22 from just under $6 billion annually ($5,958.0) to $7.36 billion in 2021 with a slight decline to $7.175 billion in FY22. This is largely due to federal infusions of cash for Corona virus relief, but, as Klein warned, as this flood of outside money subsides there will be pressure to replaced it with local revenue sources – higher taxes.

This shows a nearly 25 percent increase in state spending in just two years. Nearly a billion of the dollars fueling this spree are calculated to go away in 2022.

Perhaps more alarming, Klein finished his presentation with two solid pages of text outlining pending needs and requests for funding major new or vastly expanded programs, including:

  • $12.5 to $15 million annual increases in funding for state colleges.
  • Over $10 million required for state building costs for the Courts alone.
  • $140 million for a new correctional facility.
  • $300 to $600 million for school construction/maintenance.
  • $56 million for state IT upgrades (which Klein feels is a significant underestimate of the real need.
  • $100-200 million for Global Warming Solutions Act projects (which I think is a gross underestimate of what the Climate Council will call for).
  • An unspecified amount for broadband expansion beyond what’s being provided by the federal government.
  • $2 billion over ten years for clean water obligations.
  • $350 million for brownfield clean up.
  • $15 million for maintenance of the Waterbury Dam.
  • An unspecified amount for costs associated with a potential new per-pupil “weighting” proposal currently under debate.
  • An unspecified amount for a proposed “Universal Meals” program for public school students.
  • Unspecified amounts for affordable housing, workforce training, and economic development.

Klein admitted that his list was incomplete. I’ll add to it the massive spending that would be needed for the proposed expansion of taxpayer funded childcare from birth to five now being pushed relentlessly by Let’s Grow Kids, which would amount to hundreds of millions annually.

How will all of this be paid for? You! You will have to pay for all of this via new taxes and fees.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Categories: State Government

4 replies »

  1. I must commend Rob Roper and John McClaughry for their dogged persistence to inform us of Vermont governments passion to spend our tax dollars. Too bad few listen.
    For many decades we have been warned and we complain about the tax burden then sigh and vote for more spending. True, the legislature and executive branches both use clever accounting and “income sensitivity” tricks to keep most voters semi-complacent.
    Think of it this way- Seven Trillion Three Hundred Sixty Million Six Hundred Thousand Dollars, divided by our current population of 630,000 equals $11683.50.
    That’s what MUST be paid by taxes for each resident of the Green Mountains.
    Yes, we receive federal funds- but tell me please how the federal government raises the funds
    given Vermont- minus the handling charge, of course…
    Until we, as Vermont voters pay attention to facts that Roper, McClaughry and others present us and vote accordingly- Vermont’s budget will swell another 25% on top of the 25% gain in 24 short months.

    • Seven Trillion Three Hundred Sixty Million …..???

      That’s supposed to be Seven Billion Three Hundred Sixty Million…. still, it’s real money.

  2. but they’re quick to lock businesses down, make starting a business cost prohibitive due to act 250, and keep adding state jobs that pay exorbitant salaries such as the climate council. when there’s no one to pay these bills as there’s fewer people who are actually working ?

    • And they treat the pension problem like it was a $100.00 debt. These idiots in charge of our tax dollars do not know when to come in out of the rain because they are all brain dead. Imagine the response from these meatheads if just one of the ticket holders called in the chit.
      I have not been supportive of Treas Pearce, but she has been tuned out on this issue, when she should have been listened to.
      Time to clean house from stem to stern. It had better happen in 2022 or we are done for sure.
      Nearly there now.

Leave a Reply