Gov. Peter Shumlin today vowed in his annual Budget Speech to continue his Administration's work to grow jobs and economic opportunity.
"Every spending proposal I have pursued as Governor has been designed to promote economic development and prosperity for Vermont. This budget is no different," Gov. Shumlin said in the speech to state lawmakers. "It keeps our promise to invest in our infrastructure and in our people, and it relies on a unified, coordinated strategy for economic growth, targeting every sector of our economy and every one of our communities."
The Governor highlighted the good things happening across the state in recent years. The state's unemployment rate is the fifth lowest in America, and more than 11,000 jobs have been added since 2011, with 2000 in the manufacturing and professional services sector in the last year alone.
Although state general fund revenues have continued to climb in the last three years, Vermont, like other states, is coping with reduced federal funding. The Governor said that his budget proposal once again balances the books, closing the $71 million spending gap without increases to sales, income, or rooms and meals taxes on Vermonters. He added that his budget also significantly reduces the state's reliance on one-time funds that increased in the years following the start of the recent recession, using only $30 million in such funds this year, about half as much as last year.