The governor and House speaker are both taking credit for a budget that doesn’t raise taxes. But part of the reason is Democrats’ fear of Donald Trump and his anticipated funding cuts.
“We want to move forward, but there are a lot of details to work out,” the speaker said. Others saw it as an opportunity wasted for the sake of politics.
The final vote to pass the bill on Friday came after five separate floor amendments, multiple complaints of representatives being out of order, and a threat from Republicans to walk off the floor.
The order would have merged the Lottery Commission with the Department of Liquor Control.
If the legislative session ends a week early, on May 6, that money could be carried over to the next fiscal year and used to pay for a special session in October.
If women earned the same average wage as men, total state GDP would go up by $1 billion, according to the Vermont Commission on Women.
Lawmakers found savings across state government from a variety of projected efficiencies, including $2.5 million in cuts to the Agency of Human Services grant program, which distributes more than $100 million a year to 1,200 nonprofits around the state.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said Tuesday the legislation is on a two-year trajectory.
He has asked senators to pencil in time in October. That would be shortly after the federal budget goes into effect, possibly with major cuts in funding for Vermont.
The public appeal came hours after the administration circulated a memo asking department and agency heads not to work with the Legislature on budget cuts.
H.197 would also make it easier for first responders to get treatment specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson heard concerns that the Scott administration does not seem as committed as the former Shumlin administration to resolving the problem.
Observers say it’s early in the session, new leaders are getting their sea legs, and uncertainty hangs over legislators as they worry about potential federal spending cuts.
While the budget panel scrapped Scott’s education proposal, lawmakers have accepted many of the line item changes from the governor’s office.