Teacher Healthcare Debate Continues to Delay Adjournment in Montpelier

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Negotiations over teacher healthcare continues to delay adjournment for Vermont lawmakers in Montpelier.

New deals were brought to the table by democrats in the House and Senate Thursday, but they’re still not cutting it for Governor Phil Scott.

The republican first rejected a proposal from Senate President, Tim Ashe. The plan would cut state funding to school districts by $13 million and would require local leaders to find $13 million more in savings. The proposal would also keep teacher health care negotiations on the local level.

House Democrats announced support for the plan Thursday afternoon. During their afternoon caucus the democrats shared some details on the plan saying it would lower property taxes by three cents.

Meanwhile, the governor appears to be standing firm on his plan to save $26 million by bringing teacher health care negotiations to the state level.

According to the Scott administration, the state expects $75 million to be saved in 2018 when new health plans begin through the Vermont Education Health Initiative. The plans will offer lower premiums, but higher out of pocket costs. Scott’s proposal would send $49 million back to the teachers those higher fees. Scott’s hopes are that the remaining $26 million would be used to reduce property tax rates.

Opponents believe the governor’s proposal would take away from collective bargaining.

The Senate and House adjourned Thursday afternoon with a lot still unknown. The Senate calendar shows a vote on its plan is scheduled for Friday.

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