Email Blast Sent to Supporters on June 21, 2017. Subscribe!
Today the Legislature returns to Montpelier for a two-day budget veto session. Lawmakers have just nine days to pass a budget or state government shuts down. Unlike many states, Vermont does not have a system that continues operating on the previous budget. In Vermont it is a constitutional requirement that no money can be spent without the Legislature’s approval. This puts pressure on budget negotiations over Governor Scott’s $26 million teacher health care savings plan.
According to insiders, negotiations have been moving forward over the past week, but no details have emerged. Lawmakers have three options:
- Pass both the budget and spending bills
- Pass the budget but not the spending bill
- Pass a continuing resolution that temporarily funds state government while the Governor and legislative leaders continue negotiating.
Option one is of course what both sides are hoping to achieve, but time is not on the Governor’s side. Many school boards are in a holding pattern waiting for direction from the state on teacher contract negotiations. They cannot wait indefinitely, and some contracts have already been negotiated.
Are frustrated that they sent Governor Scott a budget he asked for, and that received nearly unanimous tri-partisan support from the Legislature. However, they are not united in their opposition to Governor Scott’s plan, 16 Democrats supported it when the House cast a tie-vote near the end of the session. Their concerns mostly rest with process, having had little time to vet the idea before the end of the session, and the need to thoroughly vet the idea to avoid unintended consequences. However, this position makes them appear to be caving to the teachers union who has vociferously opposed the Governor’s plan, saying it’s an assault on teachers and collective bargaining rights.
Are elated to find themselves in control of a policy discussion in Montpelier. For six years they have had little control of the goes on under the golden dome. They now find themselves with a Governor of their own party, enough numbers to sustain a veto, and Democrats who are willing to cross the isle. Whether or not they can adjust to this change remains to be seen, but they are now in a position where collaboration and cooperation will get them further than staunch opposition to the majority.
Let your legislator know your opinion
on the budget and Governor Scott’s $26 million health care plan!
Listen in at 10am for the opening of this special legislative veto session
While the Administration seems to have worked out its differences with the Legislature over the marijuana legalization bill, rules of operation in the House and Senate would not allow the bill to come up for a vote this week. The rules could be suspended, and often are for last minute items at the end of the session, however House Republicans have vowed to oppose a rule suspension and they have the numbers for it to hold. Supporters of the bill may try to attach it to the budget, but budget writers may be wary of making a tedious situation even more so.
Think $26 million is a lot of money?
It comes out to about 2% savings for the average Vermont property taxpayer, that’s about $50 off your tax bill… Want real savings? Our plan to open up Vermont public schools to international tuitioning students could save some towns upwards of 30% on their tax bills – real savings you can write home about. But, we need your help to make it happen. To support our work on this issue, we need to raise $8,000 by July 1st. Will you help?
Campaign for Vermont Prosperity