The VT Statehouse Insider – Week 3


The third week of the 2023 legislative session was all about the state budget. The week started with the January meeting of the Emergency Board (E-Board), which consists of the governor and the chairs of the Appropriations and Ways and Means committees in the House and the Appropriations and Finance committees in the Senate. The E-Board approves the official state revenue forecast, on which the state budget is built.

The new revenue forecast discussed by the E-Board showed that current state revenues remain strong. However, there are signs the economy is slowing, and state economists warned the E-Board they should be preparing for leaner years through the middle of the decade. State revenues continue to be driven by the unprecedented influx of federal funding over the past few years, but this funding is running out, and state economists are increasingly nervous about the outlook.

An overview of the revenue forecast can be found here.


The week ended with Governor Phil Scott’s FY2024 budget address. The governor took the revenue forecast to heart in his proposal, which prioritizes one-time spending, leveraging available federal funding and setting aside a sizable amount of money – $150 million – for future fiscal years when revenues may not be so good.

The governor continued the theme of investing in Vermont communities that he highlighted in his inaugural address two weeks ago, and said FY2024 is the “most significant budget I’ve presented,” even though he is proposing no new taxes. The budget is $8.4 billion in spending including $2.3 billion from the General Fund, $2.1 billion from the Education Fund and $335 million from the Transportation Fund.

The governor highlighted the following provisions in his budget proposal:
* $10 million for the Regional Development Corporations to fund regional infrastructure projects and an increase in the RDC base budget
* $12.5 million for brownfield remediation
* $900,000 for Climate Office technical analyses, tools and training
* $5 million for a Clean Heat Homes program
* $10 million in one-time stabilization for the healthcare system
* The elimination of the provider tax for home health agencies
* Increased Medicaid reimbursement for dental procedures from 50 percent to 75 percent of the current rate
* $9.2 million for a pilot program for primary care doctors to provide care for substance abuse
* Expanding mental health treatment in the Northeast Kingdom with a new psychiatric urgent care center
* $1.3 million to shore up the E-911 fund
* $10 million for communities to coordinate public safety and human services
* $26 million in one-time funds for sustained general assistance housing
* $20 million through the Budget Adjustment Act and the FY2024 budget for the Vermont Housing Investment Program
* $10 million for water cleanup
* $20 million for a revolving loan fund to create housing for the “missing middle”
* $500 thousand to help municipalities update zoning laws to speed up homebuilding. The governor strongly stated that regulatory reform must be a top priority this year
* $56 million ($120 million total in annual ongoing support) to expand access to childcare, using existing revenue growth. The governor said his childcare plan will increase equity, expand access to after school programs, and expand child care subsidies to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The governor emphasized his belief that childcare need can be met without raising taxes
* $2.5 million additional increase for Vermont State University workforce programs
* $9 million in bridge funding for Vermont State University
* $10 million for transitional infrastructure at Vermont State University
* $10 million for a two year pilot program to cut Community College of Vermont tuition by 50 percent
* $6.2 million for VSAC’s 802 Opportunity Program and UVM’s Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program
* $1 million for internship programs
* $5 million for the Vermont Training Program
* A $17 million tax relief package
* $4 million to help settle refugees and immigrants in Vermont communities


The Vermont legislature passed a law in 2021 that no Vermont family should spend more than 10 percent of its annual household income on child care. They also commissioned a report by the RAND Corporation on how to fairly compensate childcare providers while keeping household expenses below that 10 percent threshold. This week, the report was released, estimating that this initiative would require between $179 million and $279 million in new public funding annually. The report also identified potential funding sources, including 0.9 percent payroll tax, a 2 percent increase on sales tax and new taxes on soda.


We are thrilled to announce that former Vermont State Senator Corey Parent has joined our team as the Director of Business and Municipal Affairs. Corey has a wealth of experience in state and local government and will lead the expansion of LPA’s municipal services practice.