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Scott releases budget plan to Legislature

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Governor Phil Scott Tuesday unveiled a $1.6 billion budget proposal that he says will not raise taxes, cut services, or force the state to tap rainy day funds.

State economists last week said the state’s general fund will be short about $180 million and the education fund about $60 million more. Scott’s budget uses last year’s $110 million surplus. It also dips into one-time funds since he says they don’t anticipate a pandemic to happen every year. Despite a lean budget that the governor says will force the state to live within it’s means, there is some new spending on VTrans and broadband.

“With our disciplined approach and asking our cabinet members to restrict and find efficiencies, we were able to produce a budget I think is solid and is able to fulfill the needs of Vermont, while taking care of the most vulnerable,” Scott said.

With the threat of the coronavirus remaining, as well as uncertainty about federal assistance from Congress, Scott admitted that much of Vermont’s financial picture is in the hands of forces beyond our control.

Scott says he wants to set aside nearly $200 million in remaining CARES Act funding. About $20 million would be used to supplement President Trump’s plan to add $400 to weekly unemployment benefits. Another $130 million would go into another stimulus grant program for businesses.

The democratically-led Legislature will now begin to review the proposed FY21 budget when they reconvene next week.

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