Vermont Senate approves 2022 budget bill worth more than $7.1 billion

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MONTPELIER – The Vermont Senate passed a $7.17 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 on Thursday that includes investments in infrastructure, housing, broadband and the state college system.

The budget bill, H439, also targets the overall economy using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Cares Act. The House passed a 2022 budget of just under $7 billion in March. The two chambers will need to reach a consensus before the final bill heads to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott.

“This bill reflects what your citizen legislature has heard from constituents, organizations, and businesses from across the state,” said Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint. “One of the hardest parts of our work is seeing all the needs of our constituents, doing the very best to address those needs, and knowing we still may fall short. Because the needs are so many. This budget seeks to meet immediate needs, while also addressing some longer-term needs. This is the complicated dance we must do,”

More than $478 million in federal funding was appropriated in the budget, but more than half has been set aside for further consideration into next year’s legislative session.

The Vermont State Colleges System released a statement supporting the proposed appropriation of $88.9 million for state colleges.

“The legislature is supporting a historic investment in the Vermont State Colleges System and a tremendous boost to affordability for our students,” said VSCS Chancellor Sophie Zdatny. “These actions are an incredible signal of support for the Vermont State Colleges System, our ongoing system transformation, and our students.”

The Senate also passed H.438, the Capital Bill.

“This year the Capital Bill devotes over $127 million to the State’s brick and mortar,” said Sen. Joe Benning, Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee. “Among many other things promoted and supported by this bill, we are most proud of the direction in which we are taking our corrections and mental health systems. The bill funds facilities that seek to promote more humane treatment for both populations. Senate Institutions looks forward to exploring promotion of this concept through our entire corrections, mental health, and juvenile treatment systems.” 

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