The GOP Budget is a Disaster for Vermont

Republicans in the House and the Senate passed a Robin Hood-in-reverse budget that would hurt the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor, while providing huge tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires.  

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the Republican budget would throw 27 million Americans off of health insurance, and make savage cuts to lifesaving programs that millions of Americans rely on to feed their families, heat their homes, and pay for their prescription drugs.  Meanwhile, it would provide the wealthiest Americans in this country with another huge tax break by repealing the estate tax, and increase taxes on working families and the poor,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.  “Adding insult to injury, the Republican budget could lead to the elimination of 2 million jobs all over this country -- including about 5,100 in Vermont. At a time when real unemployment is nearly 11 percent, not only is that morally wrong, it is bad economic policy.”

In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will negotiate a final version of the budget resolution for the next fiscal year. Sanders said he is strongly opposed to both the House and Senate budget resolutions passed by the Republicans and will fight for changes to protect the needs of people in Vermont and throughout the United States. 

Here are just a few examples of how the Republican budget resolutions could adversely affect Vermonters:

1.      Over 5,000 jobs in Vermont could be eliminated. The Republicans’ budget would slash funding for infrastructure, education and scientific research, potentially costing more than 5,000 jobs in Vermont in 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute. 

2.    The Republican budget raises taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the wealthy.  An estimated 15,000 working Vermont families – with nearly 25,000 children – would pay $168 million more in taxes over 10 years because of deep cuts to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.   At the same time, the budget gives millionaires in the state a tax break of more than $98 million by repealing the estate tax and slashing the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.

3.      Under the House Republican Budget, roughly 103,000 Vermont seniors would be forced out of traditional Medicare and into a voucher program. The House Republican plan ends Medicare as we know it. All Vermont seniors would receive a voucher instead of guaranteed benefits under traditional Medicare beginning in 2024. 

4.      The Senate Republican Budget Resolution would increase prescription drug prices for nearly 10,000 seniors in Vermont who receive Medicare Part D benefits by an average of $953 next year and by more than $11,000 between now and 2022.

5.      The dream of earning a college degree will be harder for 12,000 Vermont students as a result of a $90 billion cut to the Pell Grant program. The nearly 30 percent cut would be implemented over 10 years.  These cuts will force Vermont students to make the unacceptable choice of borrowing more to attend college, or to not go at all. 

6.      The Republican budget cuts nursing home care and other health care services for Vermont seniors and the disabled by $600 million at a time when more than 40,000 of Vermont’s seniors and persons with disabilities rely on Medicaid for their long-term care needs. These cuts could have a devastating impact on the 38 certified nursing homes in Vermont that serve roughly 2,800 seniors and disabled individuals; more than half of these seniors rely on Medicaid as their primary payer.

7.      Title I education funding would be slashed by $3.1 million in Vermont.  As a result of these cuts, funding for 20 schools and 4,300 students in Vermont would be cut off.

8.      Roughly 7,400 workers in Vermont would lose training that prepares them to compete for 21st century jobs or job search assistance to help them rejoin the workforce, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the White House.

9.      Vermont would lose roughly $860,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), resulting in fewer awards to support job-creating research. The NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

10.  By calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Budget Resolution would eliminate free cancer screenings, annual wellness visits, and other preventative health services for more than 91,000 Vermont seniors and 72,000 women.

11.  Nearly 700 fewer women in Vermont would be screened for cancer by cutting funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

12.  About 2,400 fewer children in Vermont would receive life-saving vaccinations.

13.  Funding to help victims of domestic violence in Vermont could be slashed by more than $270,000, including funding for the STOP Violence Against Women Program that helps states provide support services for victims of domestic violence.