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Vt. lawmakers, governor zeroing in on possible budget deal

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers and the governor are ironing out the final details on a $7 billion state spending plan before the Legislature wraps up the session by the end of the week.

Lawmakers spent Tuesday hammering out details including funding for the state college system and air ventilation for Vermont’s courthouses. They also want to pay down $150 million towards the state’s $5-billion pension liability.

Governor Phil Scott Tuesday said that funding should instead be paid for with state surplus cash, not federal American Rescue Plan dollars. He also says the investment has to come with structural changes to how the pension funds are invested. “I have concerns with some of the ARPA money but we are making good progress in that regard. If we continue to make the progress that we’ve seen over the last two to three days, we may have something that I could accept.,” Scott said.

After intense lobbying by teachers and state workers, lawmakers opted to work on a pension plan in a summer study committee.

Lawmakers are also ironing out differences in a major broadband bill which would funnel up to $150 million toward connecting the so-called “last mile.” The governor is still pushing for a quarter-billion-dollar investment in broadband.

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