- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Latest on Vermont teacher health care savings plans (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

The House has blocked Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s proposal from advancing on how to save money from new, cheaper health care plans for the state’s teachers.

The governor’s office released a statement late Wednesday saying lawmakers voted 74-73 in support of the proposal, but Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson cast a final vote, creating a tie that prevented the proposal from moving forward. The governor’s office says two supporters of the proposal were absent.

Republican state senators already tried and failed to get Scott’s plan through the Senate.

Scott says the state could save up to $26 million. The plan is to save money and reduce property taxes by taking advantage of cheaper health care plans for teachers, mandated under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Democrats have been working on an alternative plan.


6:45 p.m.

Competing visions on how to save money from new, cheaper health care plans for Vermont’s teachers likely will keep lawmakers debating well into the night.

Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday lobbied for votes and worked on their plans, to appear as amendments to an education tax bill Wednesday night.

Republicans are going along with a proposal from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, which would force teachers to negotiate their contracts with the state. Democrats say their plan can still save money and keep negotiations at the school district level so as not to infringe on teachers’ collective bargaining rights, a major issue with the Republican plan for Democrats.

The savings are estimated by both sides to be up to $26 million, which would be used to lower property taxes.

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