Montpelier, VT — In his fiscal year 2023 budget address to the General Assembly, Governor Phil Scott proposed a $7.7 billion budget that he called ‘the most complex budget’ his office has ever put together. Similar to previous years, Scott preached financial discipline and put forward a budget proposal that would not raise taxes on Vermonters.

The American Rescue Plan Act has provided Vermont an unprecedented opportunity to tackle some of its biggest and priciest challenges, which is why Scott said his budget proposal is arriving at such a pivotal moment.

“In a normal year, we might have to choose between addressing deficits and debt or investing to grow the economy and revitalize our communities. But that is just not the case this year.”

Since February 2020, Vermont has lost 24,000 workers, which Scott notes are larger than the population of every city and town in Vermont besides Burlington. Scott’s proposal would invest in sectors that have been hit the hardest by those departures.

$18 million will be used to train, retain and recruit healthcare and mental health workers. $10 million will be used to reduce education costs for Vermonters learning a trade, and greater investment in a program that incentivizes out-of-staters to move to Vermont.

“If we don’t work to solve this problem now, it will be there down the road in the future, and it will be much bigger and more complex,” said Scott. “Future governors and legislators will have to make decisions that are regressive, like slashing services and raising taxes and fees to balance budgets.”

For the first time in 14 years, Scott pitched a budget increase for the University of Vermont. Each year, over 1,000 new workers come out of UVM to fill gaps in nursing, agriculture, and engineering. “More than half of them came from other states but decided to stay. And I think it’s important to note that UVM hasn’t raised tuition in three years in order to help students.”

Scott also highlighted housing and the almost non-existent supply of affordable homes for middle-income families and wants to invest $15 million towards increasing the state’s supply of middle-income homes and $25 million toward run-down and unlivable units.

“As of December, the median home price was more than $369,000. As of last week, according to the Vermont Association of Realtors, there were only 136 homes for sale that a middle-income family can afford and only five in Chittenden County.”

In addition, Scott is also pushing for a $216 million package to address climate change with infrastructure and incentives, and a $50 million tax relief proposal. It’s big investments like these that have Scott believing the future of the state is at stake.

“Let’s do our very best to make sure that every negotiation, every decision, and every investment withstands the test of time and meets this extraordinary moment. Because we will not get a second chance.”