Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott allowed the budget adjustment bill to become law without his signature today. It surpassed his recommendation by about $50 million. Scott could have vetoed the bill, which would have been unprecedented. While he agreed with the vast amount of provisions to the bill, which adds spending to the current fiscal year, he said he was concerned that it could remove options for needed spending in next year's budget (FY2024, beginning July 1, 2023).
According to the Joint Fiscal Office (March 3, 2023): "The budget adjustment bill (BAA) updates program and operating costs included in the fiscal year 2023 “Big Bill” to reflect more recent budget data, from the closure of fiscal year 2022 and first quarter of fiscal year 2023 program activity. The bill also reallocates across funding sources, as updated federal funding estimates and prior close out of state funds are incorporated. The net General Fund (GF) increase from the fiscal year 2023 budget in this BAA is $68M."
Meanwhile, Scott did sign H46, which allows for the dissolution of Colchester Fire District Number 3.
On March 20, Governor Scott signed a bill of the following title:
- H.46, An act relating to approval of the dissolution of Colchester Fire District No. 3
On March 20, Governor Phil Scott allowed H.145, An act relating to fiscal year 2023 budget adjustments, to become law without his signature and sent the following letter to the General Assembly:
March 20, 2023
The Honorable BetsyAnn Wrask
Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633
Dear Ms. Wrask:
Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, H.145, An act relating to fiscal year 2023 budget adjustments, will become law without my signature for the reasons stated herein.
While I appreciate the General Assembly including nearly all the initiatives I asked for in budget adjustment, including additional housing, healthcare stabilization, home heating assistance, and more, I’m deeply concerned with the Legislature’s changes that overspent my proposal by over $50 million.
As I have previously shared in letters to Committee Chairs and in testimony given by my Administration, this will leave us with significantly less to put towards critical investments in the FY24 budget.
While some of the Legislature’s additional spending may be worthy of consideration, there was no opportunity to weigh their merit against all other investments in the FY24 budget. Spending this much money so early in the session, without looking at everything in the aggregate means we can’t be sure we’re getting the most out of the historic one-time opportunity for Vermonters.
It’s imperative the Legislature invest revenue surplus with more discipline and clarity. Failing to do so will squander the historic and transformative opportunity we find ourselves in.
Unfortunately, the Legislature’s changes to the budget adjustment suggests a willingness to fall back into a spending, instead of investing, strategy, and I firmly believe we must not allow this to happen in the FY24 budget.
Instead, I ask we take a well-coordinated and strategic approach, in line with what I’ve recommended, to fund all the tangible and transformative community infrastructure projects, affordability and workforce initiatives and more, to get real and lasting results for every county and every community.
Philip B. Scott
To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2023 legislative session, click here.
3.20.2023. Montpelier, Vt. - Governor