Scott anticipates override of his budget veto

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott on Wednesday continued to explain his reasoning behind his veto of the budget and his ongoing concern for taxes and fees in bills on which he has yet to act. On Thursday he then vetoed charter change bills for Brattleboro and Burlington, while allowing a gun bill to become law without his signature because of constitutional questions. 

See below all bills that he has processed through June 1. 

The Legislature has scheduled a three-day "veto session" beginning June 21 to review vetoed bills. Several will be voted on and the budget must be resolved. The fiscal year begins July 1. During the veto session, lawmakers are not limited to just the vetoed bills and could take any other action, though they historically have not.

Here is a paraphrased summary of the press conference, which was heavily tilted toward homelessness and the ending of the hotel/motel program. 

Q: Would you consider issuing a State of Emergency to deal with the homeless situation as suggested by Speaker Krowinski? (About 800 families were required to leave their hotel rooms on June 1 or face eviction. Another about 2,000 will see the program end on July 1. For those who are still eligible, the program will restart on July 1 and run another 28 days).

Scott: It is one of the tools in the tool box. It gives the governor "almost limitless" authority, and should be used judiciously and sparingly, as we did during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

(Scott said it could be used to access private assets and supersede regulatory rules and access ARPA money. He would not commit to any of that nor did he offer specifics, but nor did he rule out).

Q: During the veto session, a new budget could come back with even more money that you'd disapprove of, not less, what would happen then, another veto?

Scott: Party will take precedent over principle. I think those 17 House members in question will vote with the party and the veto will be overridden. There is always a path forward.

Q: Why no deal yet?

Scott: We've been working to reach agreement with leadership since last October. We have the same general goals but have different ideas on how to pay for them. Vermonters may well see more homeless on the streets. We don't want anyone to suffer.

Q: Is there any middle ground on this?

Scott: "I've provided middle ground. Maybe I should have played more hardball." But I thought leadership and I could resolve these funding issues. I played it stgraight. There are economic storm clouds coming. And they have the votes to override in any case.

Scott vetoes S.6 and H.305 but lets gun bill H.230 to become law

Q: Is there time to finish by July 1; it's a pretty tight window?

Scott: Yes. They can override.

Q: There could be 1,000 homeless on July 1.

Scott: Everyone who qualifies could get another 28 in the program.

Q: Why did you vetoed S.39 (significant increase in lawmaker pay, plus adding some health and retirement benefits)?

Scott: As a legislator myself and as governor, the biggest impediment to recruitment of new legislators isn't pay, it's time. People want to know, and their families and employers want to know, how long they're going to be away. The biggest benefit we could give them is to certainty. Let's contract them for 90 days. We don't need a fulltime Legislature. 

Q: Does the Legislature has enough time to get through everything in only a three-day window; there's a lot on their plate.

Scott: It's up to them.

Q: The Green Mountain Care Board was scheduled to review the OneCare budget today but has postponed it; how is it working?

Scott: It's challenged but moving forward (Blue Cross Vermont is pulling out of the Accountable Care Organization because they are not seeing the economic benefit).

Human Services Secretary Samuleson: GMCB is independent of us so I can't speak for them. The ACO has achieved some of their goals but not all. We will continue to monitor its progress (it is intended to save money and improve individual health over time as health care providers get paid to keep people from getting sick instead of largely getting paid after they do in the current fee-for-service model.) This all-payer model is new and came along right before the pandemic and inflation began to rise.

Q: The budget is dependent on expected tax revenues, but the personal income tax, in particular, has cratered the last three months. Will there be enough money to pay for what's in the budget?

Scott: We had factored in a lowering of tax revenues going forward. The federal stimulus that began at the beginning of pandemic then led to an expanding economy. But I don't believe that will continue. "If I'm wrong, good, great." I admit when I'm wrong. Vermont is "along for the ride" to some extent on how the national economy is performing.

Q: Will you evict the people in the hotel/hotel program starting tomorrow?

Scott: We don't do evictions. We just pay the bills. (The state does not have a contract with the hotels and motels serving the homeless. If people are qualified, the state pays what the hotels charge. The governor called them "guests" of the hotel and management will have to deal with them like anyone else if they do not want to leave, which could lead to an eviction process.) 

Samuleson: If the individuals are at a property for more than four months, they get to keep the $3,300 security deposit back unless the hotel challenges it. If less than four months, that money comes back to the state. Continuing eligibility includes being third-trimester pregnant, a family with children up to 18, disabled or over 65.

Prepared Remarks from Governor Phil Scott's Press Conference on May 31, 2023

Good afternoon and thanks for being here. As you all know, I vetoed the budget this weekend because it raises costs on everyday Vermonters, relies on a new payroll tax, increases DMV fees by 20%, and grows base spending at more than twice the rate of inflation, which isn’t sustainable.  

I think it’s why I’ve been elected and reelected, to provide balance, common sense, and fiscal responsibility, so I will follow through on that promise.  

As I made clear in my veto message, we continue to face an affordability crisis in Vermont.

I hear it from Vermonters every single day.

It’s one reason I ran for Governor in the first place.  

Whether it’s young Vermonters just starting out, seniors on fixed incomes who’ve lived here their whole lives, or working families trying to get by, we’re simply too expensive for too many people.

And with high inflation, the last thing we should be doing is adding to the affordability problem by imposing new and higher taxes, fees, and penalties.

That’s especially true when we have record surpluses. But unfortunately, that’s what this does.

And here’s the important part, it doesn't have to be this way because we have enough money from organic revenue growth to make significant progress on the initiatives we agree on, without adding to Vermonters’ costs.

My budget proved that.

It leveraged a historic $390 million in surplus revenue to fund many of these shared priorities like childcare, voluntary paid family and medical leave, housing, climate change mitigation, and more.

Again, all without raising taxes or fees.


Now, I understand how this process works and also know I won’t get everything I want.

That’s why I’ve offered paths alternative along the way because this is a two-way street.


I think it’s also important to remember, the Legislature has also “vetoed” their fair share of my ideas by not taking them up.

For example, the Legislature had no interest in:

• Tax relief for senior citizens on fixed incomes

• Broader Act 250 reform to help us solve the housing crisis

• Expanding the earned income tax credit, which helps low income working families

• Or joining the vast majority of states by fully exempting military retirement pay from the state income tax, which I heard a lot about over the weekend at different events.

And they cut my funding requests for VHIP by 33% which has been incredibly successful for those experiencing homelessness, which makes no sense to cut.

They also reduced my proposal for “missing middle” housing, tuition breaks for community college students, and more.

Again, those are just a handful of many examples of the Legislature basically vetoing my proposals.


Now with this budget, I know there’s been a lot of attention around the GA program.

To be clear, that is not an area of disagreement between me, legislative leaders, and the majority of the Legislature.

So instead of the conversation being about getting 100 votes to override my veto, we should focus on how we can come to an agreement on the budget to get a signature because I think that’s what most Vermonters expect of us.

With that, I’ll turn it over to questions.

Action Taken by Governor Scott on Bills During the 2023 Legislative Session

Through June 1, 2023

This page includes action by the Governor on bills presented to him by the General Assembly in 2023. To see actions for the 2022 legislative session, click here

Click here to search bills, acts, resolutions, and constitutional proposals introduced during the 2023-2024 legislative biennium. 

January 25, 2023 

  • Signed H.42, An act relating to temporary alternative procedures for annual municipal meetings and electronic meetings of public bodies | Statement 

February 13, 2023 

  • Signed H.1, An act relating to legislative oversight of payment reform and conflict-free case management for developmental disability services

March 20, 2023 

  • Signed H.46, An act relating to approval of the dissolution of Colchester Fire District No. 3 
  • Allowed H.145, An act relating to fiscal year 2023 budget adjustments, to become law without his signature | Letter 

March 30, 2023 

  • Signed H.411, An act relating to extending COVID-19 health care regulatory flexibility

April 18, 2023

  • Signed H.28, An act relating to diversion and expungement | Statement 
  • Signed H.466, An act relating to technical corrections for the 2023 legislative session      
  • Signed S.54, An act relating to individual and small group insurance markets       

April 20, 2023 

  • Signed H.148, An act relating to raising the age of eligibility to marry 

April 25, 2023 

  • Signed H.35, An act relating to the Victims Assistance Program

May 2, 2023 

  • Signed H.190, An act relating to removing the residency requirement from Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws

May 4, 2023

  • Signed H.271, An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Springfield
  • Signed H.418, An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the Town of Barre
  • Returned without signature and vetoed S.5 | Letter 

May 8, 2023

  • Signed S.3, An act relating to prohibiting paramilitary training camps
  • Signed H.41, An act relating to referral of domestic and sexual violence cases to community justice centers
  • Signed H.76, An act relating to captive insurance
  • Signed H.146, An act relating to amendments to the charter of the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District

May 10, 2023 

  • Signed H.89, An act relating to civil and criminal procedures concerning legally protected health care activity | Statement
  • Signed S.37, An act relating to access to legally protected health care activity and regulation of health care providers | Statement

May 15, 2023 

  • Signed H.150, An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the Village of Alburgh
  • Signed H.178, An act relating to commissioning Department of Corrections personnel as notaries public
  • Signed H.288, An act relating to liability for the sale of alcoholic beverages

May 25, 2023 

  • Signed H.53, An act relating to driver’s license suspensions and revenue for the Domestic and Sexual Violence Special Fund
  • Signed H.110, An act relating to extending the sunset under 30 V.S.A. § 248a
  • Signed H.161, An act relating to issuance of burning permits
  • Signed H.222, An act relating to reducing overdoses | Statement
  • Signed H.495, An act relating to the approval of the amendment to the charter of the Town of Middlebury
  • Signed H.506, An act relating to approval of amendments to the election boundary provisions of the charter of the City of Burlington
  • Signed H.507, An act relating to approval of amendments to the polling place provisions of the charter of the City of Burlington

May 27, 2023 

  • Allowed H.508An act relating to approval of an amendment to the ranked choice voting provisions of the charter of the City of Burlington, to become law without signature. | Letter 
  • Vetoed H.494, An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government | Letter
  • Vetoed H.386, An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Brattleboro | Letter
  • Vetoed H.509, An act relating to approval of amendments to the voter qualification provisions of the charter of the City of Burlington | Letter

May 30, 2023 

Click here to view a signing statement for S.4, S.36, S.89, S.91, and S.138

  • Signed S.4, An act relating to reducing crimes of violence associated with juveniles and dangerous weapons
  • Signed S.36, An act relating to crimes against health care workers at hospitals and against emergency medical treatment providers
  • Signed S.47, An act relating to the transport of individuals requiring psychiatric care
  • Signed S.73, An act relating to workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters with cancer
  • Signed S.89, An act relating to establishing a forensic facility
  • Signed S.91, An act relating to competency to stand trial and insanity as a defense
  • Signed  S.138, An act relating to school safety

May 31, 2023 

  • Signed S.17, An act relating to sheriff reforms
  • Signed S.48, An act relating to regulating the sale of catalytic converters
  • Signed S.95, An act relating to banking and insurance
  • Signed S.112, An act relating to miscellaneous subjects related to the Public Utility Commission
  • Vetoed S.39, An act relating to compensation and benefits for members of the Vermont General Assembly | Letter

June 1, 2023 

  • Signed H.62, An act relating to the interstate Counseling Compact
  • Signed H.77, An act relating to Vermont’s adoption of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact
  • Signed H.86, An act relating to Vermont’s adoption of the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact
  • Allowed H.230, An act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide and community violence, to become law without his signature | Letter
  • Signed H.282, An act relating to the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact
  • Vetoed H.305, An act relating to professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulation | Letter
  • Signed H.473, An act relating to radiologist assistants
  • Signed H.517, An act relating to approval of the dissolution of Duxbury-Moretown Fire District No. 1 and to deputy State’s Attorneys
  • Vetoed S.6, An act relating to law enforcement interrogation policies | Letter
  • Signed S.14, An act relating to a report on criminal justice-related investments and trends
  • Signed S.99, An act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles
  • Signed S.115, An act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects
  • Signed S.135, An act relating to the establishment of VT Saves
  • Signed S.137, An act relating to energy efficiency modernization