1-29-16 – Rep. Burditt on the Alarming Trend of Budget Adjustments

by Rob Roper

As the legislature debated an adjustment to the FY2016 budget – upward by $90 million — Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland) shared an illuminating history of budget adjustment acts over the five years he has served in Montpelier. It is an alarming trend.

Citing numbers retrieved from the Joint Fiscal Office (JFO), Burditt listed adjustments (remember these increases are ON TOP OF the increases in the budgets originally passed) of $5,000,000… $23, 400,000… $7,788,000… $41,206,000… $13,787,00… $88,000,000.

“Here we go again discussing another adjusted budget that is out of control,” Burditt said. “When does it stop? I’m going to vote no today for the same reason I voted no the first time. My constituents six years ago told me they had enough. And now they’ve got even less [in their wallets] than what they’ve had.”

Looking at the overall trend line of budget adjustments, Burditt noted that we will be looking at another $30 million shortfall next year. “These budget adjustments … have taken approximately 180 million out of the taxpayers pockets just since I’ve been here.”

Burditt concluded with one more observation. “Mr, Speaker, even though balanced budgets are touted around here, this year is the first time since I’ve been elected that it is not balanced, because $10 million from the “53rd Week” [last year had a quirky 53rd week, which was not accounted for in the annual budget] has not been paid for, kicked down the road until next year. I believe we are now officially running a deficit in Vermont.”

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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