For the second year in a row, I voted for the State Budget (Fiscal Year 2019) as it passed out of the House of Representatives.  It was a responsible budget that increased only slightly the spending over last year, while making some small investments where needed, and protecting the most vulnerable.  Additionally, for the second year in a row, it did no rely on any new or increased taxes and fees.

That said, a challenge arose later with regard to the State Budget, as the Governor fought to prevent a 5.5 cent property tax increase on all non-homestead property in Vermont.  As it turned out, the state was experiencing higher than anticipated revenues coming into state coffers, so the Governor wanted to use some of those revenues to offset that 5.5 cent property tax increase.  The democratic legislature did not.  Given that the property tax increase was unacceptable to Governor, so he has vetoed the budget ... twice.

To be clear, this 5.5 cent increase on non-residential properties was not just a tax on second-homeowners and non-residents.  In fact, 57% of the non-residential property in this state is owned by Vermonters. This kind of tax increase - at a time when we have revenues coming in well above target - is not something that should have advanced.

In the end, though, the democratic majority prevailed as the Governor decided to allow the bill to become law without his signature.  Given how close we had been to a government shutdown, the Governor proved he was the adult at the table and made the right decision.

All of this said, I will reiterated my oft-repeated concerns about education funding:  it is exceptionally disappointing that we are in this position year year in and year out.  For years, it has been clear that the education funding system is broken and beyond repair, unsustainable, and unfair.  Yet, throughout that time, legislature after legislature, and administration after administration have failed to advance any meaningful reform to the system.  In this regard, we have continued to fail the people of Vermont, and we end up in the situation in which we have founds ourselves now. 

You can be sure that I will continue my effort in this regard on behalf of the community of Stowe, and of all Vermont families and businesses.

With regard to budgets in general, we have begun these last two years to put into place sustainable and responsible state spending, and I have been pleased to have been able to vote in favor of the budgets.  With louder and louder calls for increased spending and new state programs, however, we must do all we can to ensure the trend we have begun continues.

Rest assured, I will also do all I can to ensure that happens.