Two numbers caught the attention of local residents gathered for a meeting with their state lawmakers: $41 million in proposed budget cuts that legislators say will come out of human services, and $31 million in tax breaks for school districts that have approved mergers under Act 46.
The deal is the “second-largest spending increase in a decade, second only to the Obama stimulus, which we all know was the biggest boondoggle that you can imagine.”
In total the budget for the district, which does not operate a school but pays tuition to send its students to other schools, such as the Village School of North Bennington and the Southshire Community School, is up 5.48 percent, to a total of $2,710,818. However, the district also saw a greater than six percent increase in its equalized pupil count, which drove per pupil spending, which is used by the state to calculate property tax rate, down.
Government systems – and thus previous state budgets – have been designed to grow at around 5 percent a year. My budget grows at less than half that rate, puts us on a stronger fiscal footing and prioritizes investments in growing the economy and making Vermont more affordable.
For a homestead valued at $200,000, a 9.8-cent rate increase would equate to about an additional $196, compared with this year.
Let the governor take credit for this: For the second consecutive year he has proposed a budget that does not raise a single tax or fee, and his proposed General Fund spending exceeds this year’s by only $82 million.
The Dorset Select Board presented a proposed $2.4 million municipal budget for fiscal 2019 on Tuesday night at a public hearing on the spending plan.
The Rockingham Select Board on Tuesday approved a fiscal year 2019 budget to send to voters, after slashing through the proposed budget earlier this month amid pressure to reduce the tax increase. What was originally a 6-1/2 cents to 7 cents tax increase, became only a 2-1/2 cents increase.
In his second budget address, Gov. Phil Scott kept close to his campaign promises and continued his crusade to keep state spending in line with Vermonters’ annual wage growth — about 2 percent.
Voters will be asked to approve a $13.02 million municipal budget when they had to the annual Town Meeting in March.
Memorable lines from the governor’s second address to the state suggest that he will once again oppose increases in taxes, fees and spending while promoting skilled jobs and affordable housing.