Vermont’s General Government: 1. The Cost of the Executive Branch and Legislature

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General Government is a budget/audit category of the state government that includes the key functions of the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and a number of other items that don’t fit neatly into other state government departments.

The total audited expenditures of General Government in fiscal year 2016 were $86.5 million.  Charges for services and federal grants accounted for $35.9 million, leaving $50.6 million to be covered by Vermont State taxes.

Executive Branch

The Governor’s office, including a Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and support personnel and the Lieutenant Governors office are of course the key offices of the Executive Branch.

The Agency of Administration is responsible for centralized support services and financial management & control throughout the entire state government. It is the largest operation in General Government.  This Agency is run by the Secretary of Administration, who also serves as a key advisor to the governor.

The key functions of the Agency of Administration are:

     1.     Information and Innovation:  design and management of the state government’s     telecommunications and IT systems.

     2.     Financial Management: financial control of all fiscal resources

     3.     Human Resources: the principal HR department for the state government

     4.     Libraries

     5.     Tax: the administration and collection of the state’s 30 different taxes

     6.     Building and General Services: manage everything from custodial services to copy centers and paper clips for all government offices.

The other key Executive Branch officers included under the General Government umbrella include the State Treasurer and the Auditor of Accounts.

Legislative Branch

There are four budget categories covering the Vermont State legislature.  First, there is the Legislature itself covering the 180 elected citizens serving as State Representatives or State Senators. 

Next is the Legislative Counsel, which provides legal advice to the legislature as it drafts new laws. 

Third is the Joint Fiscal Office, a non-partisan body focused on the state’s fiscal policies.  This is similar to Washington’s Congressional Budget Office. 

Last is the Sergeant of Arms, the office responsible for all the day-to-day staff of the legislature.

Other Activities

Other activities included under General Government include:

    1.     Rebate and Current Use: oversees Vermont’s homeowner/renter rebate programs as well as the Current Use land program.

    2.     PILOT Programs:  PILOT stands for “Payment in lieu of Taxes”.  The state pays municipalities a sort of property tax on state owned properties, only the state and not the municipality gets to set the tax rate.

    3.     State Labor Relations Board: to handle disputes with state government employee unions.

    4.     VOSHA Review Board

    5.     Vermont Lottery Commission: oversees Vermont’s state lottery

The Cost of Being Governed

The Informed Vermonter thought that certain of the budgeted costs for the items mentioned above would be of general interest, as follows:

 

Final Fiscal-Year 2016 Budget ($ Millions)

 

Function

Budget

Governor’s Executive Office

2.1

Legislature

7.1

Legislative Council

4.1

Joint Fiscal Office

1.6

Tax Administration and Collection

17.9

 

 

 

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