Republican candidate for Governor Phil Scott today released the following statement on the preliminary report on FY2016 revenues coming in $14.7 million under projection.
“Today’s news is extremely concerning. It reinforces the urgent need to break Vermont’s streak of unsustainable budgeting, spending, and growing tax burden. It is long past time for leadership committed to restoring the fiscal fundamentals and economic health of our state.
“In particular, lawmakers and Vermonters should be very troubled by the ongoing weakness in our income tax numbers. A drop of $13.5 million in income tax collections confirms that Vermont is not experiencing the economic recovery routinely touted by Democrats in Montpelier. With only two months left in the fiscal year, these numbers signal rough waters ahead for the state budget in 2017 and beyond.
“Strengthening the economy for working families and businesses will require a strong, focused leader who can stabilize the state budget and contain spending to a level Vermonters can afford. That starts with building budgets that are based on our current fiscal realities.
“As Governor, I will not propose or sign a state budget that grows more than the economy in the prior year.
“Wages for working families are not going up, but the state budget continues to grow. Over the past 10 years, Vermont’s economy has increased at an average inflation-adjusted rate of less than 1 percent each year. State spending has been growing at nearly 5 percent while the workforce-the people who pay taxes and create economic activity-is shrinking by 2000 workers per year. All this leaves fewer and fewer taxpayers to pay the ever-increasing cost of state government.
“This is why so many families and businesses are falling behind or just barely getting by. These budgeting practices must stop. It is not fair to the most vulnerable who are depending on us to be there for them. It is not fair to the middle class who struggle to keep pace as Montpelier takes a bigger piece of their income each year. Enough is enough.”