ICYMI: Governor Phil Scott's Administration Responds to Proposal From Senate Pro Tempore
The following press release was sent from the the office of Governor Phil Scott.
Montpelier, Vt. – In the enclosed memo, Governor Phil Scott’s Administration responded to a proposal offered by Senate Pro Tempore Tim Ashe.
The Pro Tem has proposed a $13 million cut to school budgets in Fiscal Year 18 with no mechanism to ensure those reductions are covered by the estimated $75 million in savings available through the Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI)’s transition to new school employee health plans. Without that mechanism, this proposal puts school employees and programs for kids at risk.
In contrast, Gov. Scott’s proposal offers a solution that will benefit taxpayers, teachers, students and school boards, and maximizes the available savings for all Vermonters. The Governor’s proposal for a statewide health benefit provides a mechanism to achieve up to $26 million in savings annually – $13 million in the first year – for taxpayers, while investing nearly $50 million of the total savings to ensure teachers don’t see increased out-of-pocket costs. This approach protects teachers and school programs for kids, and ensures savings for taxpayers.
“The Governor put forward a serious and reasonable proposal that balances the benefits to taxpayers with the need to ensure teachers are kept whole, and collective bargaining rights are preserved,” said Rebecca Kelley, spokeswoman for Gov. Scott. “We hope legislative leadership will begin taking serious steps to act. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Vermont more affordable for all – this year and in future years.”
“Gov. Scott has repeatedly said that if legislative leaders present a plan that includes a mechanism to ensure the available savings are achieved without costing teachers more or requiring cuts to kids’ programs, and creates equity in the system, simplifying negotiations for school boards, he will consider it,” Kelley added.
“The legislature has yet to put forward a proposal that meets these commonsense principles that will maximize the benefit of these savings for Vermonters,” Kelley continued.