Friday, March 25, 2016
Cedar Creek Room, Vermont State House
2017 Budget Perpetuates Vermont’s 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 new budget will do little to rein in the spending crisis that plagues Montpelier. Over the last five years, General Fund spending alone has grown at an average of 4.5%. In keeping with this unsustainable trend, the 2017 budget will increase state spending by 4% or $58 million 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. In support of the important goal to preserve a much brighter future for Vermont, the House Republican Caucus introduced numerous cost-cutting measures that would also promote economic development, reduce the property tax burden by addressing growing education costs, and secure access to affordable healthcare for all Vermonters.
Disappointingly, Majority Democrats ignored our legislative recommendations, and instead put forth a budget that endorses fiscal irresponsibility and perpetuates the cycle of overspending. The budget will utilize over 100% of the forecasted revenue, leave no room to build a reserve fund, and use all remaining sources of one-time funding available to us. Therefore, it does not represent a step in the right direction toward restoring our state’s fiscal health.
With the passing of this budget, Vermonters will remain trapped in a quicksand of state-sponsored spending and resultant unaffordability. Vermonters deserve better.
To watch the entire conference, click on the following link courtesy of VTDigger: