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Scott budget address to focus on workforce woes, housing, federal funds

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:38 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Gov. Phil Scott will pitch his budget plan to lawmakers on Tuesday. The financial blueprint will address workforce woes, housing and leftover federal funds.

The budget typically sits around $7 billion. The governor’s spending plan starts as a baseline for lawmakers to build their own budget from.

Scott’s budget relies on tax incentives and cuts to address the labor shortage.

He will call for big investments in career technical centers, initiatives for retirees and internships through the Department of Labor. Those programs are aimed at addressing labor shortages in the trades, child care and health care.

We’ll get the details of the governor’s proposed tax cuts. Those will be focused on middle-income Vermonters, retirees and young workers.

There will also be details on expanding the worker relocation program, new mental health programs and tax credits for downtown development.

Vermont still has some $600 million in American Rescue Plan funds left.

Last year, the pandemic relief funds were key in addressing broadband, climate change, water, sewer and housing.

This year, the governor wants to put another $180 million toward housing.

And the money won’t stop there. A new financial forecast from economists shows Vermont is expected to see another $44 million surplus.

That federal cash is circulating through the economy through tax collections and direct stimulus. However, it’s unlikely the governor will include it in this year’s budget.

So will Democrats to go along with some of the proposals? This is when the rubber hits the road and the deliberations will ramp up over the next few months.

Democrats have said they share similar priorities with the governor, but there may be disagreements in some of the financial details, including whether he decides to allocate any cash toward the state’s $3 billion pension shortfall.

The governor’s budget address is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday. You can watch it live on www.wcax.com.

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Scott outlines his top priorities for Vermont in State of the State

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