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H.494: Supporting Vermonters in all 14 counties

Today in a strong show of support, the House gave final approval to H.494, the FY24 State of Vermont budget, on a vote of 111-38. The budget totals a record $8.53 billion, and it reflects the values, priorities, and needs of Vermonters across our state.

Every year, we pass a balanced budget that reflects careful stewardship of our state’s financial resources, while investing in programs that reflect and bring to life our shared priorities. This budget is focused on protecting the most vulnerable while striving to support all Vermonters, their families and communities.

H.494 represents months of intensive work by the House Appropriations Committee. It reflects input and testimony from state agencies and community partners, fiscal experts, all relevant House policy committees, and many Vermonters who attended public forums, testified and submitted letters.    Highlights includei::          $134.5 million in housing investments, including opportunities for greater access to workforce housing, permanent housing for those currently in the hotel/motel program, and funding for the rehabilitation of apartments bringing more rental units online $70+ million to support the child care and early education bill, which seeks to provide quality, affordable child care to Vermonters across the state$37 million for universal paid family medical leave insurance, providing Vermonters with up to 12 weeks of paid leave $43+ million in workforce development initiatives $46 million in Medicaid rate increases to support EMS, primary care, home health, mental health and substance use disorder, and foster care providers    Investing $1.15 million into the Department of Mental Health, allowing for a mental health mobile crisis unit to provide rapid responses Provides $1 million for refugee resettlement assistance, ensuring that new Vermonters are provided with opportunities to find work that best suits them  Providing $1 million to support Older Vermonters through Meals on Wheels, ensuring our vulnerable generations  $1 million for the Vermont Foodbank to support Vermonters facing food insecurity..

From here, the “Big Bill” moves to the Senate. It will be approved by the full legislature at the end of our biennium this spring, in time for the July 1 start of the new fiscal year…