Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office

Appropriations & Budget

Each year there are two budget bills that the General Assembly works on, passes, and sends to the Governor for signature. First, is the Budget Adjustment for the current fiscal year (July1 through June 30). The second budget bill that the General Assembly works on is the Omnibus Appropriations bill, also referred to as “The Big Bill.”

To view a specific department budget, refer to the Budget by Departments page.

The Budget Bill Process “At A Glance”

Each year there are two budget bills that the General Assembly works on, passes, and sends to the Governor for signature. First, is the Budget Adjustment for the current fiscal year (July1 through June 30). The second budget bill that the General Assembly works on is the Omnibus Appropriations bill, also referred to as “The Big Bill.”

First, is the Budget Adjustment for the current fiscal year (July1 through June 30). The Budget Adjustment bill is the vehicle used to address funding issues that arise during the fiscal year. As an example, there may be a need to add funding to support additional out-of-state beds in Corrections. Generally, areas of the budget that receive increases mid-year are offset by decreases in other areas of the budget. Since this is a mid-year adjustment to the existing budget passed in May or June of the prior year, the entire bill is effective upon passage.

The Budget Adjustment bill starts in the House in early January after the Governor submits a proposal to the House Appropriations Committee for review. After taking testimony, holding public hearings, and receiving input from standing committees the House Appropriations Committee makes funding decisions during a process called “mark up.” Once the bill is marked up it is voted out of committee and sent to the House floor for debate. After the House votes on the Budget Adjustment bill it is messaged to the Senate where the Senate Appropriations Committee undertakes a similar process.  The adjustment bill is often resolved without requiring a committee of conference but there have been instances where a conference is required to finalize the bill. Once the legislature finalizes the bill it is sent to the Governor and becomes the Budget Adjustment Act, often referred to as the BAA.

Information on the Governor’s Budget Adjustment recommendations, the department and agency back up material, and the House and Senate budget summary documents can be found on the Joint Fiscal Office website.

The second budget bill that the General Assembly works on is the Omnibus Appropriations bill, also referred to as “The Big Bill.” This is the budget for the coming fiscal year that starts on July 1. The Governor submits a proposal to the House Appropriations Committee in January directly after the Governor’s Budget Address to the General Assembly. The House Appropriations Committee proceeds to take testimony from departments and agencies, holds public hearings, receives input from standing committees, and makes funding decisions during the mark up process.

After the budget is finalized in the House Appropriations Committee, generally in late March or early April, the bill is sent to the House floor for debate. The budget may be amended on the House floor by a majority vote. After the budget passes the House it is messaged to the Senate and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee where a similar process to the House begins. Generally, in late April or early March the Senate Appropriations Committee votes the budget out of committee and sends it to the Senate floor for debate. After the Senate passes the budget a conference committee is established with three members of the House and three from the Senate to negotiate the final budget bill that will be sent to the Governor for signature.

Provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations bill become effective on July 1, the first day of the fiscal year, unless specified otherwise. All documents supporting the Governor’s recommended budget, and the House and Senate budget documents can be found on the Joint Fiscal Office’s website.