State House Update
We’re halfway through the 2023 legislative session!
Since we began in January, we have been
working on many of the priorities we heard so much about from you last summer, including housing, affordability and climate resilience.
Rebecca sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which weighs all the proposals and figures out how to spend our dollars in ways that leave the state better off and more vibrant into the future.
One big challenge we are managing is that because of the unprecedented influx of one-time federal funds, our current budget is almost $2 billion bigger than it was two years ago. It will be a lot smaller next year as the effects of those dollars dry up.
We are working hard to make sure these
one time surpluses are spent in ways that leave us permanently better off.
We welcome your thoughts, as every bill is just the beginning of a conversation.
Your input makes us all better.
Read our full Town Meeting report here.
Watch the latest video from the state house here.
Norwich Sharon Strafford Thetford
Rebecca on the Budget
"Our numbers are people and the work these people do is our purpose" - Holcombe, Appropriations Committee
I’ve been so energized by my conversations with you on the sidelines of little league games, at your doors, at the dump, and over seedlings at the farmers market.
I’ve heard over and over from you that we live here because we love it, but high costs and lack of housing and child care make it expensive and hard to stay. If regular people can’t afford to make our communities home, we risk becoming museums, with more weekenders than people raising kids.
For some of you, protecting our communities means continuing to lead our transition to green, local and renewable energy. There is no future for Vermont that is not green, local and renewable.
But we also need to put our shoulders together and push on hard issues like housing, child care and giving everyone a fair chance.
We all know people who couldn’t live here because they couldn’t find or couldn’t afford housing. We all know seniors who are anxious about whether they can continue to afford their homes.
This leaves many seniors stressed, families frustrated, and our region short of health care professionals, child care educators, green energy technicians,construction workers, and employees for our region's businesses.
To live here, young people need to be able to work. I chaired the Norwich child care committee last year. We learned from families and child care workers that we need state leadership and regional coordination to manage this market. Otherwise, some towns may be left without options, some families may not have child care at all, and our child care educators may not earn enough to provide for their own families.
I know the difference between treating symptoms and treating causes, and I’ve worked with the budgets that represent almost a third of our state’s expenditures. I saw first hand how shifting the costs of mental health from the state budget to school budgets raised property taxes and left gaping holes in the state’s fragile mental health system.