Vermont House Approves $5.8 Billion Budget With Broad Support | Off Message

Vermont House Approves $5.8 Billion Budget With Broad Support


Rep. Kitty Toll (D-Danville), chair of the House Appropriations Committee - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rep. Kitty Toll (D-Danville), chair of the House Appropriations Committee
After a 10-hour debate on gun control measures, the Vermont House briskly passed a $5.8 billion budget Friday night.

The figure represents a 1.1 percent increase over last year's budget.

"Our growth rates are astounding if you like low growth rates," said House Appropriations chair Rep. Kitty Toll (D-Danville). "I don’t know how much lower I can go."

The 2019 budget, which passed by a 122-10 vote, relies on about $2.5 billion of state money, $1.6 billion of which would be allocated to the general fund to cover general government expenses. That's slightly more than the general fund proposed by Gov. Phil Scott.

Ahead of the vote, several representatives argued in favor of more funding for causes such as health care subsidies, the state's attorney's office and substance abuse treatment. "We know there are many areas in the state budget that need to be shored up," Toll said in response, but the committee was working within the constraints dictated by Scott — no new taxes or fees.

Overall, however, opposition to the budget was markedly muted, with Democrats, Progressives and Republicans praising the House Appropriations Committee for putting forth a modest budget.

The budget maintains several programs that Gov. Phil Scott had proposed cutting, including funding to support people with disabilities and tuition loan repayments for primary care providers.

The budget was buoyed by a $28 million windfall the state recently received from a tobacco settlement, which put more money into substance abuse programs, shored up the teachers' retirement fund and was invested in the state's higher education institutions.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is led by Toll's older sister, Sen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), will now take up the bill.

Related Stories

Speaking of...


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.