Campaign for Vermont
Governor Scott introduced his $7.7B budget on Tuesday and, as anticipated, focused much of his time and attention on the 24,000 workers lost from the economy since February 2020. The proposed budge would put $4.7M into internship, training program, tech center programs. In addition, $33M would be used to recruit and retain nurses, mental health and other healthcare workers.
Trade programs would see an additional $10M for education assistance and the remote and relocated worker program would see an additional $8M investment (paid for by people who move here). He also asked for a program to do regional outreach for workforce recruitment. To further help address workforce issues, the budget would increase UVM’s base funding by $10M and state colleges by $41M in addition to further investments in Prek-12 education.
Also emphasized was the need to build more housing – particularly for middle income families. The median home price in Vermont is $369k, out of reach for many middle income families. The Governor is recommending using $145M in ARPA funds for new single-family construction, rehabbing existing structures, and construction of affordable mixed-use housing.
To make Vermont’s cost of living more competitive, he proposed (again) to exempt military pensions and student loan interest from income taxes. Layering in an earned-income tax credit and a child tax credit would net taxpayers a $50M reduction in tax liability for FY2023 (primarily targeted at middle-class families).
The Education Fund is projected to net a large $90M surplus from FY2022. The Governor proposed issuing a property taxpayer rebate of $45M and spending the other half on investments in our future workforce.
Another major funding category was $216M to address climate change and resiliency. The focus is on “empowering” (aka incentives) instead of mandating.
Finally, the budget carves out an additional $245M for expansion of broadband and cell coverage. Dozens of smaller programs were also mentioned, including project-based TIFs, a paycheck protection like program, outdoor recreation, municipal planning grants, hospital stabilization, mental health, E-911, water and sewer infrastructure, brownfields, extended bridge grants, transportation, short-term small business loans, and even a grant program to boost grand list values (still waiting to hear how this would work).
Categories: State Government