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Fri Mar 31, 2017, 05:39 PM

Vermont House finds rare unity in cautious state budget

MONTPELIER - Lawmakers joined across party lines Thursday for unusually harmonious work on taxes and spending, adopting Gov. Phil Scott's fiscal caution but rejecting some of his ideas for shifting money to higher education and economic development.

The House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously to advance the state budget, 143-1. No state budget has received as much support at this point in the process since before 2009. A companion tax bill that relies on stronger enforcement of existing tax laws was approved by a unanimous vote of 138-0.

"The budget before you is based on tough choices and based on compromise," said Rep. Kitty Toll, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, as she introduced the bill. "But most importantly, the budget before you is based on the values that we all share as Vermonters."

The only person to vote against the budget bill, Republican Warren Van Wyck of Ferrisburgh, said he would have liked to see more belt-tightening. But the budget won praise from Progressives, despite concern about line items such as child care and opiate addiction, and charmed Republicans, many of whom had grown accustomed to digging in their heels over hikes in spending.

Read more: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/30/vt-house-finds-rare-unity-cautious-state-budget/99741306/

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