Messages from Montpelier

Week of September 21

By SEN. CAROLYN BRANAGAN

The Joint Fiscal Committee of the Vermont legislature met on Thursday last week and heard from administrative officials and economists regarding Vermont’s fiscal position. All things considered, the news was good.

Well, at least stable, which is good.

Without going into a lot of detail, the revenues are on target, following the rescission last month. We seem to have lowered the expectations of consistent revenue coming into the state to a realistic level. It’s a level we are able to achieve.

The big problem discussed was the uncertainty in Washington. Congress has extended the current federal budget and postponed their new budget proposal to December. That means we know what we can expect in federal funding until we return to Montpelier in January.

The Vermont Legislature no longer needs to meet in special session during October. That’ll save at least $100,000.

Vermont fiscal committees under the careful leadership of Gov. Phil Scott are learning to control the things we can control.

One last thing: I was very worried about what would happen to the federal LIHEAP program; that’s where Vermont gets funding for its program that pays for heat in low-income homes. This program is very important in our state because in the winter, adequate heat can mean life or death. So we’ve been assured the money we will receive next year from the federal government will be at least as much as we have received this year. A relief.

Contact me at cbranagan@leg.state.vt.us. I want to hear from you.

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