Tim Ashe

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Lawmakers will be back at the Statehouse on Monday to try and find a budget settlement with Gov. Phil Scott. But that job got a lot harder after a bizarre set of events unfolded late Friday night in the House.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In an email sent Monday evening to rank-and-file employees at the Vermont Department of Taxes, Commissioner Kaj Samsom said their anxiety over a government shutdown is unnecessary, and that political forces — along with the media — are responsible for the unfounded alarm.

The statehouse in spring.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

By June 30, Vermont needs a budget — otherwise there could be a government shutdown on the first day of the state's new fiscal year.

House Republicans held a press conference Tuesday after they voted to sustain Gov. Phil Scott's budget veto. GOP lawmakers say they'll continue to reject any spending plan that allows for the possibility of an increase in property tax rates.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Republicans may have minority status in the Vermont House of Representatives, but they showed Tuesday they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

The statehouse in spring.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

With very little debate, the Vermont Senate Thursday afternoon gave its final approval to a state budget for next year. But Gov. Phil Scott has vowed to veto the bill.

Sen. Tim Ashe speaking during a 2016 special session.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / VPR

Legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott can't seem to agree on property tax rates or a state budget for next year. But they do agree that a state government shutdown on July 1 would be a disaster for Vermont.

Vermont Edition talks with Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe about efforts to settle this disagreement and avoid a shutdown. 

Gov. Scott delivered his 2018 budget address before a joint session of the Vermont Legislature.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR/file

Prior to this year, a Vermont governor had vetoed the budget only twice in state history. Gov. Phil Scott may soon match that number in 2018 alone.

Gov-elect Phil Scott at a desk in 2016, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe at a 2017 press conference.
Pete Hirschfeld / VPR Files

Both House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe say a shutdown of state government on July 1 would be a disaster. And they've come up with a plan to avoid it.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Last week, after telling lawmakers he’d be vetoing their state budget proposal, Gov. Phil Scott sent a letter to legislative leadership, insisting the two sides “are very close to an agreement.”

It appears Scott may have misjudged the severity of the divide.

Lawmakers adjourned the legislative session on Saturday, but they'll be back in Montpelier soon to try to resolve a budget impasse with Gov. Phil Scott.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott says he'll call lawmakers back to Montpelier for a special session next Wednesday, but the budget impasse between the Republican governor and Democratic lawmakers shows no signs of letting up.

Gov. Phil Scott says he is confident Democratic leaders will drop their plan to raise the statewide property tax rate to avoid a government shutdown on July first
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott says he's confident that he'll be able to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders in an upcoming Special Session over the issue of education spending. But Scott says raising property tax rates will definitely not be part of any agreement.

Gov. Phil Scott called a special session, which started this week, after vowing to veto the state budget passed by lawmakers.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Democratic lawmakers have been severely critical of Gov. Phil Scott’s plan to avoid an increase in statewide property tax rates, but the Republican governor has also struggled to win buy-in from members of his own party.

Gov. Phil Scott addresses the Vermont Senate after lawmakers adjourned the legislative session Saturday night. Scott, who is expected to veto the state budget, says there's a "fundamental disagreement" between him and legislators.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The $5.8 billion budget passed by the Vermont Legislature late Saturday night is supposed to fund government through the middle of 2019, but the spending plan will more likely have a shelf life of only a few days.

Millard Cox, of Ripton, speaks at a public hearing in the Vermont Statehouse in January. Cox is among the health care reform advocates urging the Legislature to adopt a publicly funded system for universal primary care.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

It’s been more than three years since then-Gov. Peter Shumlin abandoned his pledge to create a universal health care system in Vermont, but advocates are working this session to reignite the embers of the single-payer flame.

Gov. Scott delivered his 2018 budget address before a joint session of the Vermont Legislature.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR/file

The administration of Gov. Phil Scott says Vermont can reduce payroll expenses in public schools by more than $250 million over the next five years, without imposing a legislative mandate that requires districts to adhere to new staffing ratios.

According to campaign finance disclosures, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has raised more than twice as much money toward his 2018 reelection bid than any of the other four candidates challenging him for the office.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Administration officials say Gov. Phil Scott will unveil a plan Tuesday to plug a nearly $60 million hole in the state’s education fund.

Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders are still at odds over key budget issues, including an estimated $58 million needed for education funding.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

Lawmakers are working on finalizing a budget in the closing weeks of the legislative session, but key disagreements on school funding and other programs have yet to be resolved. We're looking at how the state budget is taking shape and where lawmakers and Gov. Scott's administration disagree.

Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe, left, and Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, Right with Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and Gov. Phil Scott, center in January 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Our veteran statehouse reporter Bob Kinzel is answering your questions about state government, history and politics.

A bump stock next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle, shown in 2013. While the House passed a ban on bump stocks Friday, the Senate version of S.55 did not include such a provision.
Allen Breed / Associated Press File

On Friday evening, after 10 full hours of debate, House lawmakers voted 85-59 to approve sweeping changes to Vermont’s gun laws. But the bill, called S.55, still has some hurdles to clear in Montpelier. Here’s what’s next for S.55.

In foreground, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, right , talk after a meeting on gun legislation Tuesday.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s top elected officials have vowed to move ahead with new restrictions on gun ownership, but a debate between the House and Senate this week shows that finding consensus on firearms legislation will be easier said than done.

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