Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 24, 2017, Budget Address
In his first budget speech today, Gov. Phil Scott proposed to address what he calls Vermont’s affordability crisis by curbing state spending. But he didn’t have much to say about the main reason many Vermont families are having trouble making ends meet: While the economy is growing, most Vermonters aren’t benefitting. Their incomes have been stagnant since at least 2000. Vermont is experiencing the same growing gap between the rich and everyone else that we see nationally.
We agree with the governor taking a more expansive view of education. We think public education should include pre-kindergarten and at least two years of college. And this will require an additional state investment. But there are better ways to fund it than to add these obligations to the Education Fund without adequate General Fund support to cover them. The governor’s proposal leaves school districts with the choice of cutting $50 million from K-12 education or increasing property taxes.
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