View the complete text of this act

ACT NO. 66

(H.464)

Appropriations; Omnibus Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2004

This act is Fiscal Year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Act for the support of state government for fiscal year 2004.

In summary, its major provisions are:

FY 2003 Adj. FY 2004

Total General Fund Spending: $889.7 $895.8

Percent Change Over FY 2003 .7%

Fiscal Restraint

· Fills General Fund stabilization reserve. Allows FY 2003 surplus to fall to stabilization reserve, projected FY 2005 spending allows reserve at 5% or more by end of FY 2004.

· Uses Federal Medicaid rate adjustment to add $9 million to the caseload reserve and balances the Health Access Trust Fund though FY 2006.

· $11.9 million general fund reserved for FY 2004 budget pressures or revenue shortfalls.

· Provides $6.5 million to address fee for space program and VISION fund shortfalls.

Protection

· Fills 16 trooper vacancies and 3 DUI trooper vacancies by the end of FY 2004.

· Provides for an additional violent crimes unit for defender general’s office to create cost efficiencies and adds funds for state’s attorneys and sheriffs.

· Fully funds Springfield prison. First inmates to move into prison in October.

· Restores Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA).

Human Services

· Medicaid financing for 40,000 beneficiaries changed to income-based premiums - eliminates deductibles and co-payments. Raises reimbursement for hospitals, dentists, and residential care facilities. Other providers avoid uncollectible co-payments.

· Meets child care caseload and corrections pressures totaling $3.5 million and adds $300,000 for state hospital funding to meet licensing standards.

· Restores funding for child care quality bonuses and child care transportation and provides an increase to SRS group homes (PNMI) of 3%.

· Provides for a partial payment to AABD participants this fall to make up for the rescission that eliminated their cost of living increase.

· Funds a substance abuse initiative at $1.75 million in state funds plus federal match consisting of outpatient treatment, aftercare, an opiate treatment facility, residential programs, prevention programs, and recovery centers.

· Funds re-entry through transitional housing and addresses problem gambling.

· Funds COLA for mental health workers at 1.5% and provides similar COLA for substance abuse counselors and PNMI providers.

· Adds funds for the homemaker program, healthy babies, respite care, and nursing loan repayment; restores governor’s proposed cut of $100,000 for Vermont Association for the Blind.

· Funds tobacco programs at $3.2 million, $1.5 million over governor’s recommendation.

Education

· Funds transfer at $268.4 million as required by education finance bill

· Provides for FY 2004 property tax relief; $159 addition to block grant and eliminates property tax on farm buildings in current use. Includes farm workers’ buildings in FY 05.

· Restores $307,000 for adult technical education grants.

· Funds 2% increase to higher education.

Other

· Level-funds Vermont Housing Conservation Board and municipal and regional planning.

· Provides $1 million in additional travel and tourism advertising, restores formula grants to regional marketing organizations telecommunications strategic planning funds

· Paving budget is $1.1 million over last year. Major project construction is increased by $21.4 million; no reductions to town highway programs; new town bridge initiative created.

Effective Date: July 1, 2003, with exceptions.