For Immediate Release
March 30, 2017
Contact: Katherine Levasseur
House Gives Strong Preliminary Approval to Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
MONTPELIER, VT - Today, the House gave nearly unanimous preliminary approval to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget with a vote of 143 to 1.
This budget takes the next major step towards fiscal sustainability while making targeted investments that support families, communities, and a healthy economy.
“I’m proud of the outcome of the vote on the FY18 budget. Through an open, non-partisan process, we developed a budget that supports Vermonters, is fiscally responsible and ensures our state is on the right path to a strong economy” said House Appropriations Chair Kitty Toll.
The budget is designed to prioritize strong Vermont communities and a healthy economy. The Appropriations Committee worked to produce a budget that grows the state’s economy while simultaneously protecting Vermont’s most vulnerable populations, without the $50-$60 million increase in property taxes proposed by the Governor. The House Budget proposal is grounded in an overall growth rate at 1.0%, compared to the Governor’s proposal of a 1.8% growth in spending. The House Budget also includes an education fund growth rate of 2.7%, compared to the Governor’s proposal of 6.7%. A high level overview of the budget can be found here:
The details of how the bill closes the $70 million General Fund gap be found here:
Some highlights of the proposal include investments in criminal justice reform, mental health, visiting nurses, local emergency housing shelters, and addiction treatment in the opiate crisis. By keeping open the Windsor correctional facility, the bill keeps Vermont prisoners in Vermont instead of sending them to out-of-state facilities. Additionally, this promotes reintegration with their families and communities after incarceration. The budget expands treatment options for Vermonters struggling with opiate addiction and opens a new hub in Saint Albans. This budget finally takes steps towards addressing the special needs of geriatric psychiatric patients which have been lacking in our continuum of mental health care. The House invested in community mental health staff- the backbone of our mental health care system- as well as better supporting seniors living at home through an increase in the Choices for Care program. These investment are made by saving money in Medicaid with better coordinated care for Medicaid patients with the highest needs, as well as increased focus in fraud reduction. It also increases the emergency shelter capacity Montpelier and Rutland for homeless Vermonters.
“This budget is the result of many months of committed work by the House Appropriations Committee and their long hard look at evaluating and prioritizing where investments can best benefit Vermonters” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “I applaud their efforts to bring the House to a strong tri-partisan vote today. By maintaining protections for those in need and making valuable investments in our future, we are ensuring strong, healthy communities in our state.”