Budget: The “Budget” is a collection of appropriations, passed by the Legislature and subsequently enacted into law. There are several types of State Budgets: the Operating Budget – appropriations to cover the cost of running State government and programs; Capital Construction Budget – major construction and maintenance of State buildings and infrastructure; Transportation Capital Act – the prioritization of projects associated with building and maintaining transportation infrastructure; and the Fee Bill - new state fees (not taxes). Appropriations provide the spending authority for a specific fiscal year for units of State government, and from various State and Federal funding sources. Learn more about the budget development process.
Balanced Budget: Although Vermont does not have a balanced budget statute, units of government cannot spend in excess of their authorized amounts, nor are they allowed to spend funds they do not have, even if appropriated. The Budget is categorized by functional areas of State government operations: General Government; Protection for Persons and Property; Human Services; Labor; General Education; Higher Education; Natural Resources; Commerce and Community Development; Transportation; Debt Service, and Other. Each functional category is then further segregated by department, individual line item, and fund.
Fund Types: There are five major State funds: General Fund; Transportation Fund; Education Fund, Special Funds, and Global Commitment Fund; and a sixth major fund - Federal Funds. In addition there are other non-major funds (Capital Funds, Debt Service Funds), several Proprietary Funds (Enterprise Funds for business-like activities, and Internal Service Funds*), and Fiduciary Funds (Pension Fund, Other Post Employment Benefit Funds, and Trust Funds). A tutorial on ISFs is linked here.
Budget Process: Each year, the Governor proposes a budget for the State for the following fiscal year. But only the Legislature has the constitutional authority to appropriate funds. The Legislature takes the the Governor's recommended budget and makes changes. The budget that becomes law is similar to, but not the same as, what the Governor proposes.