For Immediate Release
March 23, 2016
Contact: Rep. Don Turner
2017 Budget Will Ensure Vermonters Remain Trapped in Overspending Crisis
Montpelier, Vt. – The House of Representatives passed the budget bill for Fiscal Year 2017 with a vote 95-48 in its favor on Wednesday March 23, 2016. The bill will increase state spending by 4% or $58 million (for the General Fund alone) when the natural revenue growth for next year is projected at a mere 2.2%. As a consequence, Vermonters will face $48 million in new taxes and fees, and an on-going budget deficit in excess of $30 million.
We were promised that the Legislature would commence bending the curve on spending with a multiyear process to align state expenditures in 2016. Indeed, the House Republican Caucus proposed numerous legislative measures in support of that important goal of preserving a much brighter financial future for Vermonters. It is disappointing that the Democrats ignored our cost-cutting recommendations, and put forth a budget that does little to rein in the reckless and unsustainable cycle of spending in order to restore the state’s fiscal health.
Over the last five years, General Fund spending alone has grown at an average of 4.5%. Instead of advocating for sound fiscal policies that promote economic vitality, the new budget utilizes over 100% of the forecasted revenue, leaves no room to build a reserve fund, and uses all remaining sources of one-time funding available to us. In doing so, the bill endorses fiscal irresponsibility.
With the passing of this budget, Vermonters will remain trapped in a quicksand of state-sponsored spending and resultant unaffordability. Vermonters deserve better.