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Lawmakers are Considering Funding New Judicial Positions by Raising Corporate Taxes and Fees

Vermont Legislature (Credits: Vermont Legislature)

A bill, H. 880, is making its way through the Vermont Legislature. It aims to address the backlog of unresolved cases in the state’s judicial system by creating around 70 new positions funded through increased corporate taxes and fees.

The bill has sparked debate, with Democratic lawmakers advocating for its passage to bolster public safety efforts while facing opposition from Republican lawmakers and Governor Phil Scott.

The proposed funding mechanism for the new positions has been a contention. Governor Scott is reluctant to support adding new positions, regardless of the funding source.

Governor Scott (Credits:

The bill, which passed the House and is now with the Senate, seeks to appropriate approximately $7.5 million in the 2025 fiscal year to expand the workforce and support various initiatives within the judicial system.

Supporters argue that the bill is crucial to addressing the substantial backlog of over 16,000 cases, particularly in criminal courts, and aligning the system with national standards for case processing timelines.

The funding would primarily come from increased corporate taxes and fees on securities, with estimates suggesting revenue generation starting in fiscal year 2026.

The new positions would include judicial assistants, IT specialists, deputy state attorneys, victim’s advocates, and support for remote hearings in the Department of Corrections. Additionally, the bill includes provisions for future funding requests for these positions in the 2026 fiscal year.

Governor Phil Scott (Credits: VTDigger)

Critics, including Governor Scott’s spokesperson, argue that simply adding positions without addressing underlying policy issues in criminal justice may not effectively address the system’s challenges. They emphasize the need for substantive policy changes alongside any resource allocation.

The bill’s journey through the Senate and its potential incorporation into the budget bill underscores ongoing discussions about resource allocation, public safety, and the efficiency of Vermont’s judicial system.

As the legislative process continues, balancing funding priorities and policy reforms will remain key considerations in addressing the state’s judicial needs and ensuring effective criminal case processing.

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