House Appropriations Committee

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House Appropriations sends state budget to the floor

MONTPELIER — The House Appropriations Committee gave unanimous approval Monday to a state budget plan that closes a $72 million projected gap between revenue and expenses without raising taxes and fees, a demand from Republican Gov. Phil Scott that has loomed over the Democratic majority for months. Overall, the Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Kitty Toll, D-Danville, opted to cut general fund spending by about $67 million. Another $5 million in revenue is expected to be generated through enhanced compliance of existing taxes. The plan was approved by the committee on a 11 to 0 vote Monday afternoon, and won the support of four Republican members. The House’s 2018 fiscal year spending plan does not raise taxes or fees, as Scott demanded. Continue Reading →

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Senate tries to spur House into action on marijuana legalization

MONTPELIER — The Senate on Wednesday attached the language it passed earlier this year creating a legal, regulated marijuana market to a House-passed bill dealing with criminal procedures, a move designed to spur the House into action on legalizing pot. The House has not considered S.241, the Senate’s marijuana legalization bill passed earlier this year, on the floor. After being scaled back by the House Judiciary Committee to only include a commission to examine the issue, the House Ways and Means Committee amended it again to legalize up to 1 ounce of pot and the cultivation of two marijuana plants. The legislation has been stalled in the House Appropriations Committee for nearly two weeks, however. Without the votes to advance it, the committee has opted to let the clock tick down on the legislative biennium. Continue Reading →

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House Appropriations passes budget with a 2.6 percent increase

MONTPELIER — The House Appropriations Committee voted to advance a 2017 fiscal year state budget Monday on a 10 to 1 vote that will hit the House floor later this week. According to the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office, general fund spending under the committee-passed budget is set to rise by nearly $58.88 million, or 4 percent, from $1.48 billion to $1.54. The total budget is set to rise by about $144 million, or 2.6 percent, from $5.63 billion to $5.77 billion. That includes an increase in federal funds of about 2.2 percent, rising to $2.04 billion. Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, said the committee has made gains with structural problems in the state budget that critics have complained about for years. Continue Reading →

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Budget adjustment goes to the House floor

MONTPELIER — The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to advance the annual mid-year budget adjustment bill after settling on how to appropriate the final $450,000 in available revenue in a give-and-take between members. The adjustment to the current 2016 fiscal year budget addresses about $85 million in needs. The majority of that — $52.6 million — is in the state’s Medicaid program. The budget adjustment covers the state’s $22.9 million share of the Medicaid gap. “We’re funding the Medicaid caseload,” Chairwoman Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, said. Continue Reading →

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