Legislators Head Home


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Legislators Head Home

Posted by Karen Horn on 21 May 2015

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The legislature folded its tent last Saturday and headed home to the relief of everyone – including the legislators themselves. They managed to close a $133 million gap between budget and revenues with a combination of increased taxes and cuts. Even before the appropriations and revenue bills were signed, legislators understood that they will be facing a budget deficit of $50-70 million for fiscal year 2017 when they return in January. And those are just the General Fund money woes. Expect a similarly contentious session in 2016.

H.35, the water quality bill that passed, raises approximately $7 million in the next fiscal year to reduce stormwater and phosphorus flows to Lake Champlain initially and in later years to Lake Memphramagog and to the Connecticut River, where the pollution issue is nitrogen, not phosphorus. The $7 million figure only begins to chip away at the estimated $100 million price tag to clean up Lake Champlain over ten years. Also passing was H.361, the education reform bill, which might or might not bend the education spending curve. You can read the details of all of the legislative action relevant to cities and towns in the 2015 Legislative Wrap up. You’ll find a link to it on our home page.

And so, on to summer – to summer study committees and to VLCT policy development committees for the 2016 legislative session! We need to hear from you, the local officials charged with keeping cities and towns running smoothly in all seasons of the year.