Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Senate passed H. 439, the FY2022 Budget Bill. This budget appropriates a total of $7.17 billion to meet the ongoing costs of operating state government including the programs providing services and benefits to Vermonters, and to make investments in Vermont’s infrastructure and human capital from the federal funds available from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the CARES Act (CRF).
“A budget is not only a financial document, but a statement of priorities and values,” said Sen. Jane Kitchel, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This Senate budget continues our commitment to using Federal COVID-relief funding for long-term investments in housing, broadband, environmental improvements, our state college system, and overall economy. In addition, this budget makes significant human capital investments in workforce upskilling through educational, certificate, and apprenticeship programs. The pandemic has impacted every Vermonter and every aspect of government services. This budget funds economic recovery initiatives, supports the re-start of Vermont’s judicial system, and shores up the funding of the provider systems that serve our most vulnerable citizens.”
“This bill reflects what your citizen legislature has heard from constituents, organizations, and businesses from across the state. One of the hardest parts of our work is seeing all the needs of our constituents, doing the very best to address those needs, and knowing we still may fall short. Because the needs are so many. This budget seeks to meet immediate needs, while also addressing some longer-term needs. This is the complicated dance we must do,” added Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.
The bill appropriates $478.6 million of the ARPA State Fiscal Relief Fund, while reserving over half of these flexible funds for further consideration in the 2022 session.
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest one-time federal funds towards Vermont’s future in a way that honors what each of our communities need,” said Pro Tem Balint. “The Senate, House, and Administration largely agree on spending priorities, including broadband, affordable housing, and tackling climate change. We can take action in several of these areas now and take time to do careful, deliberate work on others.”
The Senate also passed H.438, the Capital Bill. “This year the Capital Bill devotes over $127 million to the State's brick and mortar,” said Sen. Joe Benning, Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee. “Among many other things promoted and supported by this bill, we are most proud of the direction in which we are taking our corrections and mental health systems. The bill funds facilities that seek to promote more humane treatment for both populations. Senate Institutions looks forward to exploring promotion of this concept through our entire corrections, mental health, and juvenile treatment systems."
Source: Montpelier, VT – Office of the Pro Tem 4.29.2021