Roll Call! Senate Votes to Repeal Act 46 Spending Caps

Roll Call Graphic
in the State Senate on January 20, 2016 by a vote of

Purpose: To repeal the allowable growth thresholds (spending caps) for school districts as enacted in Act 46, which the legislature just passed in 2015. (Read the Bill)

Analysis: Act 46 was the legislature’s answer to the citizens’ outcry for property tax relief and reform. The law puts significant pressure on school districts to consolidate, which proponents believe will create efficiencies and reduce costs over the long term (a highly debatable proposition). In the short term, Act 46 placed spending caps on school districts, which, if breached, trigger penalties. The caps put downward pressure on school budgets and, therefore, property taxes.

Those voting YES voted to repeal the caps; a de facto property tax increase.

The impact of Act 46 has been, in the words of the House Education Committee Chairman, “a mess.” Two Senators explained their votes, and their words best explain the logic behind each side:

Sen. Flory (R-Rutland): “I had very mixed views on how to vote on this bill.  I was prepared to vote NO because many schools in my District worked very hard to stay within the caps and with repeal, their work is unrewarded. However, in light of the fact that schools were given incorrect data for when penalties would occur, I vote yes, to repeal the caps.”

Sen. Degree (R-Franklin):  Voters were clear in 2014 that at the top their list of things for us to do in the coming biennium was to slow the growth of education spending immediately. Repeal of these thresholds without meaningful replacement does the exact opposite.

Senate Journal, Wednesday, January 20, 2015. “Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence on a roll call, Yeas 28, Nays 1.” (Read the Journal, p. 60-61)


How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
John Campbell (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – YES
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) – NO
William Doyle (R-Washington) – YES
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) – SUSPENDED
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) – YES

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