After years of work to identify a long-term clean water funding source, VNRC was happy to see the Vermont House and Senate vote in 2019 to dedicate 6% of the rooms and meals tax revenue that would normally go to the General Fund, to instead go to the Clean Water Fund. The Governor signed this bill (S.96) into law.
S.96 represents important progress in helping ensure that clean water funds are being spent on high priority projects, and by dedicating a new, long-term revenue source that effectively doubles the Clean Water Fund. Considering other dedicated sources of clean water funding, with S.96 Vermont gained $25 million in additional revenue for clean water, as recommended by the State Treasurer. Read more here.
Prior, long-term water funding to restore water quality in Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog had been required by the Vermont Clean Water Act, Act 64 of 2015, and under orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Vermont had been using a patchwork of funds with an inadequate system to prioritize spending public dollars.
VNRC will be keeping an eye on the budget over time to ensure this funding mechanism does not end up creating a hole for other important state programs in the future. Further, we will be working with the administration to ensure the new regional distribution model for funding that is established in the bill is transparent, accountable, and effective at cleaning up and protecting state waters.