MONTPELIER - Since Vermont's divided governing duo were elected last November, Vermonters have wondered how the state's new Republican lieutenant governor would perform in a legislative tie situation, considering the fact that the governor and the majority in both senate and house are Democrats. On April 22, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) got the opportunity to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
Scott made it known that he would vote yes on an amendment offered by State Sen. Bobby Starr to H.436, the Miscellaneous Tax Bill, in a tie situation. When it finally came time to vote April 22, Scott's "thumbs up" was the deciding factor.
The amendment now approved extends the education property tax exemption for non-profit skating rinks used by public schools.
Scott presides over the Senate. Under Vermont law, the second-in-command only votes when a tie arises. The 14-14 roll call vote on the Starr amendment was Scott's first opportunity to break a tie as described under state constitution. There have been a few close votes between Democrats and Republicans in the recent legislative session, but Scott remained on the sidelines.
"These skating rinks provide for the physical education of Vermont students. Without them, Vermont's schools would not have the facilities to support their hockey teams. This exemption reduces the financial burden on those rinks. I was proud to support Vermont schools with my tie-breaking vote," Scott told reporters.