Solid growth predicted for this fiscal year and the next in Vermont's revenue forecast

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Solid growth is predicted for state revenue for the rest of this fiscal year and next year, economists told the state's fiscal leaders on Monday.

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Secretary of Administration Justin Johnson said economists told the members of the state Emergency Board that state revenue is now forecast to grow in the current fiscal year by $40.2 million more than the January forecast while the fiscal 2017 forecast is now $29.9 million ahead of the January estimate. Those figures are increases of 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, over the January estimates.

Johnson said the revenue figures show the Vermont economy is growing.

"It was a pretty upbeat presentation," Johnson said of the Monday forecast outlined by economists Jeffrey Carr and Tom Kavet.

The Vermont Emergency Board, made up of the governor and the chairs of the four legislative money committees, meets twice a year to get a report on economic conditions and a forecast for how much the state should expect in tax revenue.

Earlier this year the Legislature had to close a budget gap of more than $110 million. The General Fund budget is about $1.5 billion.

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Johnson said the upbeat revenue projections don't mean the Legislature would necessarily have more money to spend next year.

"We're looking at modest growth, in the amount of money we'll have to spend, but we recognize that we'll have increased costs as well," Johnson said. "One of my jobs over the next five months or so is going to be to help put together a budget that minimizes those cost increases."