Local News

House closes budget gap with $113 left over

By Elizabeth Hewitt, www.VTDigger.org
Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee were left with relief and a $113 surplus after unanimously approving an FY 2016 state budget plan Monday.

The committee scrounged together enough in cuts, one-time money and revenue to patch a $113 million gap. The Appropriations total budget, including education and federal funds, rings in at $5.55 billion, $74 million less than the governor recommended.

The bill will likely reach the floor of the House on Thursday.

The committee filled almost half of the $113 million gap with reductions in spending totaling $53 million and added $35 million in new taxes.

Many of the governor’s controversial cuts were maintained in the Appropria- tions budget, including the elimination of the state’s $6 million contribution to low- income home energy assistance (LIHEAP). The committee also retained the governor’s proposal to find $10.8 million in labor force savings.

However, Legislators cobbled together solutions for some of Shumlin’s more controversial cuts, including maintaining some funding for VermontInteractiveTelevision (VIT) and providing some temporary funding for Public Service Answering Points.

The House budget restores the $1.7 million cut to the Community High School of Vermont proposed under the governor’s budget, instead cutting $500,000 to the corrections-based education system.

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