MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – Vermont Gov. Phil Scott Tuesday said he would like to see a nearly $90 million Education Fund surplus be used to refund taxpayers and fund the state’s Career and Technical Education programs.
The Scott administration is urging lawmakers to give Vermonters property tax rebates, but there are questions about how big they could be. A windfall of federal cash created a $90 million surplus in the state’s education fund, meaning some Vermonters overpaid on their property taxes. Now, Gov. Scott wants half of that surplus — $45-million to go to Career Technical Centers to get more young people into the trades.
“Using these one-time surplus funds in a strategic way to expand the capacity of CTE centers can help us meet our current and future workforce needs. Simply put, investing in CTE is investing in our future,” said Vt. Education Secretary Dan French.
Scott the other half to go back to property taxpayers in the form of a flat payment of around $250. But lawmakers say the exact surplus amount is unknown because voters passed higher school budgets on Town Meeting Day. They say that likely means an increase in the statewide property tax rate by more than 5-percent and less money available for rebates.
“Higher spending is just one of the things we need to take into account as we consider how to set the yield and what to do with whatever surplus there may be,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Janet Ancel, D-Calais.
The governor also made another appeal to the Legislature to use one-time federal ARPA funding strategically.
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