State Budgets 2012: Vermont



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background: 

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 3, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


3/22/12: House passes budget 'Big Bill'; on to the Senate

The Vermont House hit its high-water mark this week, passing more than 30 bills during late-night sessions to move lawmakers closer to early adjournment. And the House took a giant step toward ending the legislative year ahead of schedule by approving the $5.01 billion state budget. The Democratic-heavy House passed the legislation by a 99-41 margin that seeks to rebuild the state following Tropical Storm Irene last August. Supporters of the measure say the balanced budget allocates an estimated $16.5 million for future unanticipated needs. 

Read more: Brattleboro Reformer

3/22/12: Vt. legislative leaders outline $5 billion budget

The Vermont House is set Thursday to consider a more than $5 billion budget that spends about $124 million on recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. The spending plan for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1, represents a 6.4 percent increase over the current year. But House Speaker Shap Smith said Wednesday it won't require raising broad-based taxes like those on income and sales.

Read more: Associated Press

3/20/12: House panel divides along party lines over budget

Members of the House budget-writing committee juggle notebooks bulging with memos and spreadsheets that explain in detail the $5 billion in spending proposed for next year. For weeks, committee members have studied this information, listened to pleas from advocates, heard requests from the Shumlin administration and haggled among themselves. Monday afternoon each of the 11 members of the House Appropriations Committee summed up all their deliberations with a single word that each uttered when it came time to vote on the budget: Seven, all Democrats, said ‘yes’ — they supported the plan they had  crafted. Four, all Republicans, said ‘no’ — they disagreed with the bill.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

3/20/12: In partisan vote, House panel passes budget plan

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $1.3 billion fiscal year 2013 General Fund budget Monday evening on a 7-4 vote along party lines.  Democrats lauded the Big Bill as a fiscally responsible plan; Republican members rejected the expenditure proposal because they said it accelerates state spending.

Read more:

2/24/12: House and Senate negotiators reach deal on budget adjustment

Lawmakers can multi-task.  Amid the the seemingly non-stop deliberations in the House Thursday on a bill on a health insurance exchange and a long day in the Senate on redistricting and mental health reform, House and Senate budget negotiators squeezed out time to reach a deal on the bill making mid-year changes to the budget. The House backed off its demand for a process to restore a higher starting point for the calculation of the amount of general taxes appropriated for education.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

2/20/12: Negotiations ahead on Vermont Legislature’s mid-year budget bill

House and Senate negotiators are expected to sit down this week to hash out their differences on the mid-year budget adjustment bill. One big difference is a provision added by amendment to the House measure that set of a procedure to make up for a reduction in the level of General Fund tax dollars provided for education. The Senate zapped that provision.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles

5/16/11: Money bill redux: How lawmakers performed the $176 million budget miracle

Until this year. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Democratic leaders in the Legislature bent the growth curve when they agreed to spend about $75 million less in General Fund dollars (state money derived from income taxes) on government services. The actual spending level in fiscal year 2012 will be 5.7 percent less than the total amount the state spent in fiscal year 2011 (including federal stimulus funds).

Read more:

5/7/11: How Vermont's budget puzzle came together

The budget for state government is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, only the budget writers don’t always know what the picture will look like until they get done putting all the pieces in place.

Read more:  Burlington Free Press

4/23/11: Vermont Exercising Option to Balance the Budget

Technically, Vermont could play fast and loose in this season of fevered budget-chopping: it happens to be the only state with no budget-balancing requirement.But Vermont, it turns out, is a fiscal goody two-shoes. This spring, the Democratic-controlled Legislature toiled to close a projected $176 million gap in its $4.6 billion budget for the coming 2012 fiscal year with a combination of spending cuts and scattered tax increases. Gov. Peter Shumlin, a newly elected Democrat, said Vermont was so innately frugal that it had no use for a balanced-budget law.

Read more: New York Times

4/7/11: Shumlin stresses jobs, health care, and no new taxes

Gov. Peter Shumlin on Monday praised lawmakers for supporting a 2011 legislative agenda he predicted will lift the state to economy to heights unseen since the tech boom of the 1990s. That challenge, Shumlin said, has included overcoming a projected state budget deficit of more than $170 million, creating more jobs, crafting a health care reform plan, plotting a new energy course (that he said should not include Vermont Yankee), and extending broadband Internet and cell phone coverage throughout the state within the next two years.

Read more: Addison County Independent

4/2/11: House passes transportation bill

The Vermont House has passed a $544 million transportation budget that will continue the state's ambitious resurfacing goals of more than 200 miles of interstate and state highways. The spending bill's final passage came on the House floor Friday morning, proposing a $137 million increase from previous budgets without federal stimulus funds for transportation investments. Those figures include a 36 percent ($20 million) increase from pre-stimulus level funding for paving on 100 miles of interstate highways and 135 of state highways.

Read more:Brattleboro Reformer

3/31/11: Lawmakers explain state budget cuts

Local House representatives said on Monday they regretted having to make substantial cuts in the fiscal year 2012 state budget — particularly in the area of human services — but they added the reductions would have been a lot deeper had they endorsed Gov. Peter Shumlin’s spending plan. The Vermont House last week passed a total state budget of $4.69 billion, representing a 3.6-percent decrease in total spending but a 7.3 percent increase in the proposed general fund appropriation. The big difference this year — no more federal stimulus money. Last year’s budget benefited from $158.8 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Read more: Addison County Independent

3/25/11: Vermont House Passes 2012 Budget

The Vermont House wrapped up debate on the 2012 state budget Friday evening and approved the bill 95-34. Lawmakers considered more than a dozen amendments. But the House largely agreed with the proposal written by the Appropriations Committee.

Read more: Vermont Public Radio

3/24/11: Vt. House take up fiscal 2012 budget

Vermont lawmakers are set to debate a fiscal 2012 budget that is slightly smaller than this year's and requires broad-based tax increases. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Martha Heath says the $4.69 billion budget for the 12 months beginning July 1 is down 3.6% from what state government is spending this year. But she says House budget writers were able to ask for smaller cuts in many areas than those recommended in January by Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Read more: Asssociated Press

3/23/11: House majority fends off amendments to $24 million tax package

The Democratic majority in the House deflected all efforts to revise a tax bill that would raise $24 million in new taxes, primarily through health care related assessments. After hours of debates about amendments, the House gave the bill final approval with a voice vote. The tax package includes increased taxes on hospitals, nursing homes and home health organizations, a new assessment on health insurance claims and a 27-cent increase in the tax on cigarettes.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

3/22/11: House committee sends out $4.8 billion state budget

The entire House Appropriations Committee — Democrats and Republicans — will stand behind the $4.8 billion budget bill it has wrestled to write for the past 2½ months. Late Monday afternoon, following a last-minute concession to three Republicans to set aside $3.6 million to cover future federal funding cutbacks, the committee voted 10-0 to favorably report their spending plan. The $3.6 million isn’t a sure bet, but if some extra Medicaid reimbursement dollars come in, the committee agreed to put the money in a reserve account.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

3/16/11: Vt. Doctors, Hospitals Decry Governor's Budget Cuts

Vermont doctors, nurses and other health professionals converged on the Statehouse to speak out against budget cuts and provider tax increases they say will put patient care in jeopardy.

Read more:  WPTZ

3/15/11: Vermont revenues 5 percent below forecast in Feb.

Vermont state government general fund revenues were about 5 percent lower than expected last month, but they're well ahead of where they were a year ago, Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said Tuesday. The February revenues were $51.3 million, just over 5 percent below revenue forecasts. For the fiscal year-to-date, the state has taken in $738.5 for the general fund.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

3/13/11: Gov. Peter Shumlin: Fortitude will be necessary to balance our state budget

When I presented my budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year to the Legislature in January, I said we must match the promises state government makes with the capacity of Vermont taxpayers to support those promises, and I said it was time we make the difficult choices today that will help ensure that we are not back making drastic cuts next year. Even with having to cover $120 million in unavoidable increases for statutory increases in education, unemployment insurance, and pension funds, as well as rising human service caseloads resulting from the Great Recession, my budget would be the first in a decade where state spending will be lower than in the previous year.

Read more: Burlington Free Press

3/10/11: Mental Health Advocates Fight Proposed Budget Cuts

Mental health patients and their advocates were out in force at the Statehouse on Wednesday to speak out against budget cuts that they say will undermine many programs. Legislative leaders were listening. And they say they'll try to avoid some of the deeper reductions.

Read more: Vermont Public Radio

3/6/11: Single-payer health legislation on the move in Vermont

By the end of this week, the House Health Care Committee will vote on a bill that authorizes the building blocks for a future single-payer health care system.  The bill will largely follow the template provided to the Legislature by Gov. Peter Shumlin, who set transformation of health care as a priority for his first term in the state’s top job..

Read more: Burlington Free Press