Excerpt from VSEA’s Week In Action newsletter, May 28, 2021:
The virtual gavel banged, ending what will always be remembered as the “COVID session.” Like the rest of society, lawmakers made do and were able to accomplish several important things, including passing H.439, which is the FY22 budget.
Here are the important takeaways for VSEA members from this year’s budget:
- FY22(2021) Pay Act is fully funded. For Executive Branch, Judiciary, State’s Attorneys and Defender General Unit members, this ensures a 2.25% COLA in July, two health insurance premium holidays, step movement throughout the year, and the implementation of the paid family leave program;
- The Actuarially Determined Employer Contribution (ADEC and/or the pension plan) for state employees and teachers is fully funded for the fiscal year. Total cost is $343 million, including $250 million General Fund (14% of total General Fund);
- $150 million General Fund and $14 million Education Fund dollars are reserved to invest in the pension funds once the pension taskforce completes its work;
- The Vermont Judiciary receives a $9 million investment, which will help relieve a caseload backlog by creating dozens of new positions and by enabling more improperly classified temporary employees to be converted to classified employees, per a VLRB ruling achieved by VSEA;
- Invests $3.3 million into the Office of States Attorneys and $2.7 million into Defender General Office to fill vacancies and increase staff to cope with a backlog caused by COVID-19; and
- Invests more than $87 million into the Vermont State Colleges to backfill revenue lost due to the pandemic. Also increases learning opportunities for high-demand professions, provides bridge-funding for the VSC’s merger into one accredited institution with multiple campuses, and includes a $5 million (16.7%) base-funding increase.
Note: VSEA’s Legislative Team is thanking every member and retiree who took time this legislative session to contact your lawmakers or State officials about a VSEA bill or campaign or logged into a Zoom hearing to testify or just listen. Your help is appreciated.
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