The Vermont Legislature adjourned on Friday, ending a historic session during the coronavirus pandemic where they mostly met virtually and deliberated on how to spend about $1 billion in coronavirus recovery funds.
The Democrat-controlled legislature reached agreement on a $7.3 billion budget that the Republican Gov. Phil Scott said earlier in the day Friday that he could likely support, barring any unforeseen last-minute details.
He said his administration worked with the Legislature on what he called historic investments including "$190 million for housing, $150 million for broadband and $50 million to mitigate climate change this year with intent language to ensure future investments in priority areas for the state's recovery."
The funding came from the federal rescue plan, the state's General Fund surplus and other federal funds, Scott's office said.
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"As I said in my Inaugural Address, this year was an opportunity for us to rise above politics and gamesmanship. To rise above the difficulty of a global pandemic that's taken thousands of lives and disrupted so much. To rise to the challenge and embrace the opportunities so we can solve problems, help people, and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever," Scott told lawmakers.
He also said the state's response to the once-in-a-century pandemic has been a team effort, and said he thanked each lawmaker and every Vermonter who helped.
"We've worked hard to pass legislation that supports our kids, assists workers and families, keeps businesses and communities viable, and restores faith in our democratic institutions," said Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint in a statement.
The chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges also praised what she called the Legislature's historic investment in public higher education and student scholarships, including $88.9 million in the Vermont State Colleges System and Vermont students.