Sen. Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden) is a UVM professor who last month argued for increased funding for UVM even as state colleges were facing imminent closure. Now Baruth appears to want to hold the future of Vermont State Colleges to passing a marijuana tax - a funding stream that won’t kick in for several years and is not expected to do much more than pay for the combined regulatory, police, substance abuse, and youth prevention programs.
"The first thing that must be done: publicly designate a permanent funding stream to the Vermont State Colleges. A stream of funding that will act as a public endowment, never to be diverted, to be counted on in perpetuity. A source that will finally bear out Title 16, chapter 72 of the Vermont statutes, which promises that the Vermont State Colleges will be “supported in whole or in substantial part with State funds.” For years now, we have talked as a Legislature and a state about what might be accomplished with the tax proceeds from an adult-use cannabis industry in Vermont. The bill to create such a system is currently in conference between the House and the Senate; the governor has come tantalizingly close to saying he would sign such a bill, with a few safeguards. In the event that such a bill goes through, in two years’ time we might reasonably expect tax receipts on the order of our well-run, heavy-control liquor operation – about $24 million per year.."
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