MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont's governor and lawmakers remain at odds over the state budget. Without a deal, state government will shut down July 1. So what would that mean for Vermonters and who would be hurt the most?
"A government shutdown would be terrible for the state. It adds this incredible level of uncertainty. It shows Wall Street that we can't handle our finances," Vt. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said.
Vermont's Constitution is clear: "No money shall be drawn out of the Treasury, unless first appropriated by act of legislation."
"The programs that operate with state revenue or federal revenue all have to be appropriated, so they would not be operating after July 1," Vt. Finance Commissioner Adam Greshin said.
Lawmakers and the governor disagree on property tax rates but that fight has spilled over to the state budget. Gov. Scott vetoed one spending plan already and may scuttle lawmakers' second attempt soon.
"The veto is about a show that is a very dangerous game," said Johnson, D-South Hero.
State government can operate for a bit without a new budget but not very long. Any money left over from the current fiscal year could be spent but only for its original purpose. When that runs out, there is no money left for food stamps or rental assistance or even to pay the state police.
"They would not be required to work. We can't require police to work without paying them," Greshin said.
Johnson says a shutdown will harm vulnerable residents the most.
"The people that are struggling with the affordability of Vermont, really. People that need assistance with food, rental assistance, people that are in domestic violence situations and need the state for that security," she said.
As the stalemate continues, some Vermonters say it's time to end it.
"They're intelligent. They should come together. They should get it done," said Jill Knudson of Brookfield.
Meanwhile, town clerks send out property tax bills in July.
"We're already well into our tax bill preparations stage," Barre City Town Clerk Carol Dawes said.
Dawes says property tax bills could be delayed because of the stalemate. The governor wants to use one-time surplus money to lower rates. But Democrats oppose that plan and want to pay down debt instead.
"We have no idea what's happening with the education tax rate and we don't know when we're going to get anything," Dawes said.
Lawmakers and the administration are continuing to negotiate.