Vermont and the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 Budget

The President’s 2010 Budget seeks to usher in a new era of responsibility – an era in which we not only do what we must to save and create new jobs and lift our economy out of recession, but in which we also lay a new foundation for long-term growth and prosperity.  To achieve these goals, the nation must address some of the deep, systemic problems that have been ignored for too long by making critical investments in education so that every child can compete in the global economy, health care so that we can control costs while boosting coverage and quality, and renewable sources of energy so that we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and become the world leader in the new clean energy economy.  At the same time, we also must restore fiscal discipline, making sure that we invest in what works and do not waste taxpayer dollars on programs that do not work or are duplicative.

Taken together, education, health care, clean energy, and fiscal discipline are the pillars upon which we can build a new foundation for our economy, a foundation that brings opportunity and prosperity to all Americans for decades to come. 

Under the President’s budget, Vermont will see:

  • Tax cuts for 300,000 families.
  • $66 million for schools, students, and teachers.
  • $181 million in new funding for Pell Grants to help families pay for college.
  • A pay raise for the 4,100 men and women in Vermont serving in our Armed Forces.

Creating Jobs, Getting the Economy Moving Again, and Investing for Long-Term Growth

  • The President’s budget will mean lower taxes for 300,000 families in Vermont.  Through the Making Work Pay tax credit, the budget provides a tax cut up to $400 for individuals and $800 for families.
  • Vermont’s 75,000 small businesses are central to economic progress.  That’s why the budget eliminates capital gains taxes on stocks of certain small businesses to encourage innovation, expansion, and job creation.  The President also makes the Research-and-Experimentation Tax Credit permanent, promoting innovation and business growth.
  • The budget helps to create jobs here at home by assisting small businesses with improved marketing, technical, and contracting assistance.  It supports $17.5 billion in loan guarantees to get credit flowing again. Also, the budget proposes changes to the tax code that will get rid of tax incentives for large U.S. multinational companies to invest abroad, rather than here at home.
  • Vermont’s infrastructure – like the rest of the nation’s – is in need of investment.  An estimated 40 percent of Vermont’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, while 39 percent of the state’s bridges are judged structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The budget establishes a national Infrastructure Bank to fund these improvements, builds on the historic investments in our highways and mass transit systems made in the Recovery Act, and invests an additional $1 billion over what was committed in the Recovery Act into expanding broadband Internet access to rural and underserved areas.
  • The budget invests $4.4 million in the federal HOME program and $63.3 million in the Housing Choice Voucher program to help Vermont families find affordable, good-quality places to live.

Bringing Down the Cost and Boosting the Quality of Health Care

  • In Vermont, more than 136,000 people are uninsured, and rising health care costs take more than $9,300 a year from paychecks of Vermont residents.
  • The budget makes an unprecedented $635 billion down payment on health care reform.  This deficit-neutral reserve fund will be used to pay for a substantial part of a health care reform effort that will bring down costs, boost quality, expand coverage, preserve the ability to choose your doctor, and put our nation on a fiscally sustainable path.
  • To cut prices on medicines, the budget helps Vermont residents to buy more affordable medicines from other countries, streamlines the approval of generic medicines, and strengthens efforts to make food and medical products safer.
  • The budget invests $0.8 billion in Medicaid grants to help Vermont protect health care coverage for families with dependent children as well as aged, blind, or disabled individuals.

Giving Every Child a World-Class Education

  • Across the country, a college degree is fast becoming too expensive for middle-class families.  In the past 25 years, tuition, fees, and room-and-board costs have jumped by 107 percent.  But financial assistance hasn’t kept pace.  The President’s budget makes college more affordable for an estimated 24,000 Vermont residents by increasing the maximum Pell Grant for college students for the next school year to $5,550. 
  • The President also wants to eliminate middlemen in student loans, bypassing big banks and putting the funds directly in the hands of students.  This would save an estimated $5 billion next year in subsidies for the banks, and $48 billion during the next decade.  The savings would be invested in our students, increasing Pell awards across the country.  In Vermont, the President’s plan would boost Pell funding by $181 million between now and 2019.
  • The budget makes permanent the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit for people attending college while also proposing to cut the red tape on financial aid, making it easier for students and their parents to apply for assistance.
  • The budget invests $35 million for state and local educational initiatives throughout Vermont which strengthen student achievement in low-income areas.  These funds would provide additional assistance to teachers and schools as they implement innovative approaches to raising student performance.
  • The budget provides Vermont $14.0 million to help increase students’ academic achievement by boosting teacher training efforts and expanding recruitment efforts for effective teachers and principals in high-need school districts.
  • The budget provides $12.4 million for the state’s School Breakfast program and $55.0 million for its School Lunch program.

Reducing Our Dependence on Oil and Investing in a Clean Energy Future

  • It’s a security, economic, and environmental imperative that we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and invest now to make the United States the world leader in clean energy.  That’s why the budget establishes a New Energy Innovation Fund to drive the creation of an energy-efficient housing market -- including the "retrofitting" of older, inefficient housing -- and to act as a catalyst for private lending for this purpose in the residential sector.
  • The budget also supports loan guarantees for innovative energy technologies including renewable energy projects, transmission projects, and carbon sequestration projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants and greenhouse gases while simultaneously creating green jobs and contributing to long-term economic growth and international competitiveness. 
  • And the budget lays out how the Administration plans to work with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide, market-friendly emissions reduction program to start in 2012 that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The goal is to reach levels approximately 14 percent below 2005 emissions by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 emissions by 2050. 

Supporting Our Military and Veterans

  • The President’s budget supports additional permanent forces in the Army and Marine Corps, which will increase in size to 547,400 and 202,000, respectively, by the end of 2009.  This growth is two to three years ahead of schedule and will reduce stress on servicemembers and their families, while ensuring heightened readiness for a full spectrum of military operations.
  • The budget increases VA funding by $25 billion during the next five years to ensure quality health care close to home for all our veterans, including the more than 55,400 veterans in Vermont.
  • The budget also contains a proposal to expand concurrent receipt of military retired pay and Veterans Disability Compensation to all retirees receiving disability retired pay.  Under current law, the prohibition on concurrent receipt means that these benefits offset each other so that military retirees with disabilities greater than 50 percent cannot receive both retirement and disability payments. 
  • To honor the sacrifice of the more than 4,100 men and women from Vermont and the thousands more from across the nation who serve in our Armed Forces, the budget includes funding for a 2.9 percent military pay raise.