Minutes after the Vermont Senate unanimously passed a bill meant to create a long-term funding plan for clean water, Gov. Phil Scott reiterated his opposition to the legislation.
S.260 is one of 13 bills that Scott named in a letter to the legislature as “problematic,” mostly on the grounds that they would raise taxes or fees.
“My request is simple,” he wrote in the letter. “[L]et’s work together to find ways for many of these proposals to advance, while respecting the need to provide Vermonters with another year of relief that begins to moderate the burden of taxes and fees.”
The original version of S.260 would have created a state authority empowered to develop and implement a new tax or fee to raise money for clean water projects. The latest version of the bill would not allow for the collection of any new taxes or fees; it simply calls on the administration and the legislature to each develop a proposal for how the state might collect that money.
Those proposals could not be implemented without additional legislative approval and the governor’s signature next year. Scott opposes that approach nonetheless.
“I haven’t looked at the bill, but we need to come up with a long-term funding mechanism [for clean water],” Scott said before reiterating his opposition for the bill.
Asked why he opposes a bill to create a water quality funding plan even though he acknowledges the need for a plan, Scott said it's because the bill would “raise a tax or fee this year.”
When Seven Days questioned that statement, Scott said, "OK. I haven’t looked at it, but again, it was on the list of bills that I assumed had a tax or fee in them.”