Statehouse Tax Land

Roll Call! Senate Approves 5% Increase in State Budget (24-6), 2022

H.679- AN ACT RELATING TO FISCAL YEAR 2022 BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS – KITCHEL AMENDMENT

PASSED in the State Senate on February 3, 2022 by a vote of 24-6

Purpose: The underlying bill aligns planned spending from the previous fiscal year with actual spending. This would increase Vermont’s annual budget to $367 million. This is a 5% increase from the budget passed at the end of the 2021 legislative session and a 2% increase from the House’s $360 million proposal, passed in January. Coupled with S.210, the Senate is allocating $114 million in federal ARPA funds (the American Rescue Plan Act).

The Kitchel Amendment’s highlights:

  • Removes $20 million of one-time expenditures from the Vermont Housing Incentive Program (VHIP), with a promise to include it in S.210. VHIP would pays Vermonters to fix up buildings to be used for housing,
  • Supports the House proposal in spending $60 million in ARPA funds for healthcare workers, but adds a stipulation that these workers must stay in Vermont 1 year to receive any bonus
  • Adds $2.6 million of ARPA funds to for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, which pays Vermont farmers when the price of milk isn’t enough to cover “average feed costs
  • Adds $1.5 million of ARPA funds for State House renovations and expansion


Analysis:
Those voting YES believe that the bill will provide necessary funding for important government programs. The $20 million dedicated to the VHIP was important, but believe it is not refined enough yet for legislation. They want to give the program more legislative direction, while giving the Governor’s administration less discretion in designing VHIP.

Those voting NO were most concerned that transferring an allocation of $20 million from the VHIP and putting it into S.210, may result in fewer homes being revitalized, since S.210 is less likely to become law than H.679. They may also have concerns about the underlying bill, which would allocate federal ARPA money away from “tangible infrastructure projects,” which had previously been discussed, and into government services and programs.

View the floor debate on YouTube.

Related:
Changes Between House bill and Kitchel Amendment
These roll call reports are designed to help citizens understand how their elected representatives vote on key issues. The bills may or may not eventually become law. Click on the link to the bill page at the top of this post for an up to date status on the bill.


How They Voted

Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Russ Ingalls (R-Essex-Orleans) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington) – YES
Kesha Ram (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Joshua Terenzini (R-Rutland) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES

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