The budget conversation in Montpelier should shift away from “the gap” and more toward to the purpose of raising and spending public money.
Gov. Phil Scott is proving that he has an agenda far more aggressive than Candidate Scott’s.
He called his plan to set aside $10 million of the projected cost “a different way of accounting” that gives the state flexibility.
He would put $10 million of the expected cost of the program into a reserve fund rather than incorporating it into the budget. Lawmakers say that threatens to undermine the forecasting process.
“If schools make the cuts the governor has asked for, Vermont homeowners won’t see lower taxes,” according to Paul Cillo, an architect of the education fund.
The administration — already rebuffed by a Senate panel — wanted to focus on that aspect of the governor’s education proposal. But House committee members raised broad issues with the overall plan.
His proposal for overhauling education spending rests largely on having towns postpone their school budget votes until May. But lawmakers weren’t receptive to that idea Tuesday.
Gov. Phil Scott delivered his first budget address on Tuesday. Read the full text here, or watch the video provided by Vermont PBS.
House Ways and Means identified issues with the timing and constitutionality of the education overhaul, while the tax commissioner acknowledged a major financial gap.
It’s not yet clear if the numbers in the governor’s bold plan for education spending add up, but they do count for something.
“We have avoided the reality of this [economic] crisis for far too long. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to put us on a new path to a more prosperous future.”
Scott’s plan shifts millions of dollars from the K-12 education system to pay for pre-K and higher education programs.
The Phil Scott who laid out an ambitious overhaul of the state’s school funding was not the same one many voters and Montpelier colleagues had grown accustomed to as lieutenant governor and a state senator.
Gov. Phil Scott’s budget outlines a plan for operational savings at Vermont Health Connect and a $35 million bond for affordable and workforce housing.