Special Session is Unnecessary
In response to the Governor’s letter indicating he will call the Legislature back for a special session, Lt. Governor Zuckerman offers the following remarks.
“As Lt. Governor I had the honor of presiding over the Senate during the presentations and votes for the budget (H.924) and tax (H.911) bills. When the vote was take on these bills I heard support from every Senator and they should be signed into law. When Democrats, Progressives and Republicans vote in unison that says the product is broadly supported.
The budget (H.924) has multiple investments that start to mitigate the struggles faced by many working and vulnerable Vermonters. Highlights include:
- Reversing the Administration’s proposed cuts to the Developmental Services Program, Primary Care doctors and Community Health Clinics
- Ensuring those with severe disabilities continue to have access to attendant care
- Providing resources to better protect children and assist families, especially those struggling as a result of the opioid epidemic
- Increasing child care provider reimbursements
- Funding tuition for National Guard members; and
- Supporting our dairy farmers by providing interest buy-down assistance on VEDA loans.
This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was supported 29-0 on the Senate floor.
The tax bill (H.911) starts to address the affordability crisis facing many Vermonters while providing resources to improve Vermont’s long-term fiscal health.
- It is based on an average homestead property tax rate that is less than the 2017 rate
- It expands the Vermont earned income tax credit from 32% to 36%
- It exempts taxable social security benefits from State income taxes for those filing singly with under $45,000AGI and couples with less than $60,000AGI
This bill protects Vermonters by paying down the retired teachers’ pension, saving taxpayers over $100 million in interest and strengthens Vermont’s fiscal reserves. H.911 passed 6-0-1 from the Senate Finance Committee and, as I heard it, received unanimous support from the full Senate.
From his prior experience as a State Senator, the Governor knows the standard procedure for the budget. In that tradition, Senators diligently and dutifully researched and debated these bills for four months. They took testimony and worked relentlessly to find fiscally and morally responsible solutions that meet the needs of all Vermonters. They did not spend more money than the Governor proposed; they spent it differently, without using one-time funds, and in a more fiscally responsible manner. I hope the Governor will respect their work, and the votes of Vermonters, and sign these bills into law."