Poverty, hunger, and homelessness are on the rise in Vermont. Meanwhile, median household income has been steadily declining since before the recession, and the gap between those at the top and everyone else is getting wider. In his budget address, Gov. Peter Shumlin acknowledged some of these struggles that many Vermonters face, but the real test of his spending proposal for the coming year is how well it addresses Vermonters’ basic needs and helps bend the curve on these troubling trends. Strengthening Medicaid with a new payroll tax and matching federal dollars is a step in the right direction toward a fairer way to pay for health care. Read more
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F1-MJB066 The number of jobs declined in December, but Vermont still ended 2014 with more private sector jobs and more non-farm payroll jobs than it had at the start of the year. Private employers reported 255,400 jobs in December, an increase of 1,600 over January. The total number of jobs, both private and public, was up 900 from the beginning of the year, to 310,200.       More at work The number of Vermonters working—either on payroll or self-employed—was higher in December than at the start of the year. But the December employment total, 337,300, was below the 2014 peak, which came last spring. Read more

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