Vermont pushes for school budget revotes after COVID-19

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The administration of Vermont's Republican Gov. Phil Scott is proposing that school budgets be re-voted across the state so local taxpayers can make decisions knowing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on tax revenues.

In an online meeting with House lawmakers, Finance Commissioner Adam Greshin said a projected shortfall in next year’s education fund due to the virus impacts will require significant reductions to school budgets approved before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

“And I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to suggest that the budget votes would have been different, or the budgets themselves would have been different, if voters knew then what we know now,” said Greshin.

Vermont Public Radio reports that fiscal analysts are projecting a $167 million deficit in next year’s education fund.

Greshin said that if budgets aren't reduced the state will have to raise property taxes by as much as 14% next year.

Lawmakers are working to keep next year's property taxes the same as they would have been prior to the virus outbreak.

“The concept of sending voters back to revote budgets sounds like instead of stabilizing contributes to even more chaos,” said Shelburne Democratic Rep. Kate Webb, chair of the House Education Committee.

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