The Deeper Dig: The pandemic budget plan

Vermont Statehouse
The Vermont Statehouse on August 24, 2020. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

The Deeper Dig is a weekly podcast from the VTDigger newsroom. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Weeks after state economists warned that Covid-19 has had a “massive” impact on the Vermont state government’s finances, legislators are reviewing a budget that largely maintains the status quo.

Gov. Phil Scott’s administration plans to tap a surplus from 2019 tax revenue to help cover a $180 million deficit caused by the pandemic. Along with some reduced government spending and an influx of federal aid, the administration’s plan would fulfill the last nine months of fiscal year without cuts in “essential services.” 

In reviewing the proposal, lawmakers are also considering pleas to include funding to stabilize the state colleges system, increase relief funds for undocumented workers, provide further grants for struggling businesses, and more.

The Legislature is expected to remain in session until late September to pass a final budget. But work on the next fiscal year’s budget will begin in January, when the state will contend with a projected $100 million deficit and no surplus to help cover it.

**This post will be updated with a podcast transcript.**

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Mike Dougherty

About Mike

Michael Dougherty is VTDigger’s digital editor. He is in charge of comment review, social media engagement and multimedia productions.

Dougherty is a DC-area native and studied journalism and music at New York University. Prior to joining VTDigger, Michael spent two years as a program coordinator for the Vermont Humanities Council. Before moving to Vermont in 2015, he spent seven years managing recording operations for the oral history nonprofit StoryCorps, assisted Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas, and contributed to the Brooklyn-based alt-weekly L Magazine.

Email: [email protected]

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