Teenage voting, childcare spending, and $8.5 billion budget face House veto override

By Guy Page

The Vermont House at 10 AM Tuesday morning will reconvene to consider overriding Gov. Phil Scott’s vetos of $120 million for childcare/early childhood spending, 16-17 year old voting in Brattleboro, non-citizen voting in Burlington, high fees for professional licensure, and the $8.5 billion 2023-24 state budget. 

Overriding a veto requires 100 votes in the 150-seat House. Vetoed bills will be considered in this order:

H. 217, Child care, early education, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance, passed the House overwhelmingly 118-27 on May 12.

Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a $120 million childcare bill because it relies on a slippery-slope payroll tax and ignores a cheaper, but still effective plan set forth by his administration. 

H217 would subsidize childcare centers and spend more on pre-K in public schools. His administration’s alternative plan would allocate $56 million from existing revenue sources to raise family eligibility to four times the federal poverty level – the highest in the nation, he claimed. A family of four could earn $105,000 and still qualify, he said. 

But what Scott won’t stand for is funding childcare via a payroll tax. 

“The payroll tax itself has never been used this way before,” he said. “Once the door’s open, it takes a little bit out of everyone’s pocket, they will be going back to the well time and time again.”

H.305, professional licensure. License fee hikes drew the governor’s displeasure and subsequent veto. “While these fee increases may look modest, they contribute to the high cumulative impact of new costs being levied on Vermonters this session. I will continue to fight against creating new and higher taxes and fees during a time when Vermonters are grappling with persistent inflation, and when we have record surpluses available to assist us.”

H.386, a Brattleboro charter change allowing 16-17 year olds to vote and hold office locally. It passed the House 103-33. Supporters say it will increase civic interest and participation among young people. Scott: “Given how inconsistent Vermont law already is on the age of adulthood, this proposal will only worsen the problem. For example, the Legislature has repeatedly raised the age of accountability to reduce the consequences when young adults commit criminal offenses. They have argued this approach is justified because these offenders are not mature enough to contemplate the full range of risks and impacts of their actions.” 

H. 494, the $8.5 billion state budget. Scott said it adds an average of $1200 per year per family at a time when Vermonters are already suffering financially due to inflation and a high cost of living. 

H. 509, non-citizen voting in Burlington, is an example of what Scott calls ‘patchwork’ changes to voting standards. He urged the Legislature to pass uniform voting standards for all municipalities. He also recognized that the state Supreme Court rejected a challenge to similar charter changes in Montpelier and Winooski. 

As published in the June 19 VDC, the Senate will consider vetoing S.6, banning some police interrogation tactics with juveniles, and S.39, the legislative pay and benefits hike. 

The Vermont Daily Chronicle Toolbox features legislator contact information and instructions on watching the House and Senate on Zoom. 

Categories: Legislation

7 replies »

  1. Wow! Look at all the unconstitutional things that they’re willing to veto.

    Like a mosquito drawn to a vein they won’t stop.

  2. “The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”
    — Excerpt from the short story, ‘Harrison Bergeron’, by Kurt Vonnegut

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
    — Aristotle

    “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”

    — Kurt Vonnegut

  3. In a state with a population of roughly 650,000 people, the proposed annual budget comes out to a little over $13,000 per person, not taxpayer. I am amazed that our lawmakers don’t see the sheer insanity of this budget.

  4. “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” Thomas Jefferson

    I wonder what must be then amiss with the current citizen legislators. I ponder if the word “honest” might, in fact, have anything to do with their string of abuses and deconstruction of the Vermont Constitution. Hmmm….

    • As predicted:
      “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. “
      Benjamin Franklin’s Speech to the Constitutional Convention, 1787

      Apparently, ‘…the people [have] become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.“

      • Certainly, at the very least one particular party undeniably has.

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