Legislature abandons effort to raise money for lake cleanup


As federal regulators await a commitment from the state to clean up Lake Champlain, lawmakers and the Shumlin administration have decided to not raise any money for the task this year.

House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Chair Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, offered an amendment on Friday to strike a proposal to raise state revenue for improving the state's water quality.

Deen has been pushing for a policy to reduce phosphorus runoff into the state's waterways, including money to support the plan. But time ran out this session to raise taxes, and the Shumlin administration opposes raising state money for the cleanup this year.

The committee's proposal is being stripped of all provisions designed to raise revenue: an increase in the state's meals and rooms tax and a surcharge on rental cars, which together would have raised about $4 million in the first year, according to a fiscal note.

Nonetheless, Deen said the bill has been an important step for advancing the policy.

"It's been a hell of an education effort and now I want to take the last step and have a discussion with the full body," he said.


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