Montpelier, VT – Governor Phil Scott rejected the 2024 spending plan on Wednesday which was previously agreed upon by the Legislature earlier this month. Scott said the spending for the plan would be too much for Vermonters to handle.
It wasn’t too long ago that Legislators were celebrating their victory in coming to an agreement on how to pay for a revamped, $200 million-dollar childcare plan, housing, and new climate initiatives.
All of them are tucked into their $8.5 billion-dollar budget that now needs an override vote after the governor utilized his veto pen.
The divide over how to fund the Green Mountain State between Vermont’s lawmakers and administration continues.
“This budget reflects months of hard work and investments in every corner of the state,” said Burlington Democrat Speaker, Jill Krowinski.
“There will be more of a divide between those that have the resources where it doesn’t matter how much they are paying. They have the money, and then they’ll have those that are reliant on the government to get them through,” said Scott.
The budget contains historic investments in housing, childcare, and climate change efforts.
Despite a Democratic supermajority in the House and Senate, the lower chamber’s final vote to approve the budget was 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority required to override a veto.
“As we get through those conversations, those who voted no are feeling more confident in saying yes. This is an ongoing conversation. It doesn’t happen overnight,” said Krowinski.
That ongoing conversation centers around a crucial debate around the future of the state’s General Assistance Hotel Housing Program that will be ending for good at the start of July.
The end of this program will put over two-thousand homeless Vermonters back on the street.
“Many of us are saying we still have time to use the process to re-open the budget, shuffle things around and come up with a humane response,” said State Representative Emma Mulvaney.
The administration announced a 28-day extension for some of those that will be kicked out on July 1st.
But Krowinski has called for Scott to administer a state of emergency with the mass exodus coming.
“The governor has resources that he can be using that he is not. I will continue to advocate for the governor to do more,” said Krowinski.
“I think we need to get through June 1st and see where we are at,” said Scott.
The veto session will begin on June 20th to hash out the budget, which some believe could get to an even higher total.