Scott’s initial proposal plugged a multi-million budget dollar hole (while increasing spending for selected items) largely based on a pitch for local school boards to both level-fund school budgets as well as delay their local school budget votes until May. This proposal was criticized as unrealistic on its face, particularly coming as it did only days before most already-crafted school budget proposals were to be legally finalized for Town Meeting Day consideration. Since the Governor’s vision for such a radical change in school budgeting did not materialize, the administration has firmly resisted calls to re-engage with the legislature in order to craft a proposal based on those budget factors within state control.
But that all changed today when Governor Scott announced a modified budget. In a message clearly tailored to legislators who viewed his previous proposal as based on assumptions that were unrealistic or even fanciful, Scott stressed his new proposal was a “serious, thoughtful proposal to bring in another $30 million dollars without raising any further taxes or fees on struggling Vermonters, while maintaining our budget priorities.”
The proposal fills the gap with the Leprechaun’s pot o’ gold. The Governor noted that his staff had been hard at work identifying the location of the end of the rainbow in recent months, and had in fact verified the location of the pot o’ gold only this week. In his press conference, the Governor strongly urged opposition Democrats to “move forward on this responsibly balanced budget without delay.”
Democratic legislative leaders, however, were dubious. In a hastily called press conference, House Leadership was joined by the Leprechaun, where the group characterized this most recent proposal as no more realistic than the previous one.
The Leprechaun also noted the history of ill fortune coming to those who had attempted to access this source of funding in the past, adding “hands off me gold.”
The Leprechaun further began voicing his concerns over the long-term wisdom of depending on such a “one-off” funding source for the state budget, but was cut short when he was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials after proving unable to produce a valid green card.