I want to thank those of you who came out to vote last Tuesday during Town Meeting Day. For those who did or didn’t, I put together a short Town Meeting Day Report that talks about the work we have done in Montpelier to date. We are currently about half way through our session. Although the majority of the work will get done in the coming weeks. Below is my report for all of you to read.
The new legislative session began in early January and with it some changes. We have a new Governor, a new Lt. Governor, a new Attorney General, a new Speaker of the House and a new Senate Pro-Tempore. Along with those changes, I have been assigned to the new House Committee on Energy and Technology as Ranking Member, a new committee in the legislature which has a policy portfolio of Energy, Telecommunications and for the first time oversight of Information Technology within State Government.
Outside of the committee work, my focus has been on the main issues I heard from many of you over the past few years and summed up with these statistics: every day in Vermont 6 people lose the workforce, we school enrollment declines by three students, and three babies are born addicted to opiates.
Governor Scott, myself and many of our colleagues are proposing and working on solutions to fix these problems which we believe will make Vermont safer, healthier and more affordable.
As we returned to Montpelier this year, we passed a budget adjustment for the current fiscal year that reduced spending levels from when the budget was passed last year, and because of that, it is the first budget adjustment that I have supported in my legislative tenure.
Governor Scott has also proposed a budget that is level funded which means if passed State Government will spend the same number of dollars next year that it did this year. This means there will be no need to raise taxes or fees to support it. I have been steadfast during my time in the legislature to not raise taxes or fees, and I’m glad we have a Governor who shares that commitment to Vermont taxpayers.
The Governor’s budget reprioritizes existing resources into areas that I think are critical to our future success as a state including an increase of $1,000,000 to the new St. Albans Opiate Treatment Hub to help those struggling with addiction. An investment in workforce housing development to help increase the housing stock for middle-class families in Vermont. Investment in economic development such as innovation centers in rural Vermont. More investment in early education and higher education to train the workforce of tomorrow and $25 million in clean water infrastructure projects.
Whether or not the final budget contains those items remains to be seen as the majority party in the legislature has been stopping this agenda every chance they get. We have yet to see proposals that counter the Governor’s that can accomplish what his does without raising taxes and fees.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns that you may have. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is 802-370-0494.