Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Vermont Budget > Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 18, 2022 Budget Address

Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 18, 2022 Budget Address

Gov. Phil Scott urged legislators Tuesday to make rebuilding Vermont’s labor force a top priority this session. The labor force was down by 24,000 since February 2020, the governor said before laying out a laundry list of investments—from both federal and state funds—to boost training, incentives, and job opportunities to attract more workers.

Vermont’s labor force had been declining before the pandemic, so the governor is right to focus on the problem early in his Budget Address. But the solution to the current labor shortage is not all about workers. The governor could have reminded employers that they have a role, too.

We now get monthly data on the number of job openings in Vermont, but we don’t know anything about where those jobs are or how much they pay. The state doesn’t collect and publish this data. But from national data and news reports, we have learned that workers are not only seeking higher wages, they’re tired of dead-end jobs. Workers can clearly benefit from more and better training, but they deserve quality jobs opportunities in return.

We don’t think the governor exaggerated when he said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the economic future of our state will be defined by what we do today.” More than $10 billion in federal funding to fight COVID-19 and stimulate the state economy is at least a once-in-a-generation opportunity. But we would like to have heard more about the governor’s vision for Vermont and its residents that would result from investing all of this federal largesse. What are his goals—our goals—for racial, social, and economic equity? And how will we know if we’ve made progress?   

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 18, 2022 at 4:11 pm

3 Responses to “Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 18, 2022 Budget Address”

  1. Jean Rosenberg says:

    Expanded housing stock will also be critical for increasing Vermont’s labor force.

  2. Tim Swartz says:

    I am disappointed that Gov. Scott gave no mention of welcoming immigrants to the US to join us in VT, to increase our workforce. I believe that immigrants from other countries will bring a diversity of ideas, in addition to the energy and desire for a better life which they have shown by immigrating. I would be particularly glad to see VT welcoming more asylum seekers, and to work more vigorously to find ways to help the existing workforce of undocumented dairy workers achieve a legitimate status. Their hard work has kept the number of dairy farms in VT from dropping even further.

  3. Jerry Shedd says:

    Most of Governor Scott’s budget proposals look reasonable. But policy aimed at increasing Vermont population runs counter to efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. I doubt that workers who left their jobs also left the state. Vermont has achieved what the world needs: population stability. Let’s hold onto that.