Tying public spending to any measure of economic growth is a double whammy for Vermonters in bad times: When the economy slows, it takes state spending down with it. So Vermonters not only have to deal with job and income losses during a recession, they also get hurt by a reduction in state services just when they need them most. Read more
On one level, Gov. Phil Scott’s first budget proposal provides a useful lesson. He showed it’s relatively easy to reduce or eliminate a state budget “gap,” at least on paper. You just move the problem into a different account. But it also could be a useful service if it shifts the budget conversation in Montpelier away from “the gap” and more toward to the purpose of raising and spending public money. Read more
Gov. Phil Scott said this week that property taxes were one of the biggest contributors to what he calls the state’s “affordability crisis,” and he called on local school boards to cut more than $50 million from the budgets they’ve prepared for next year. Read more
In his first budget speech today, Gov. Phil Scott proposed to address what he calls Vermont’s affordability crisis by curbing state spending. But he didn’t have much to say about the main reason many Vermont families are having trouble making ends meet: While the economy is growing, most Vermonters aren’t benefitting. Read more
“Vermonters need to smoke more.”
That was the eye-catching headline to a recent column by Jon Margolis on vtdigger.org. It was a great way to explain Vermont’s chronic budget gaps without putting everyone to sleep talking about “structural revenue problems.”
Margolis was right. Part of Vermont’s budget problems are due to the state’s reliance on revenue that is tied to an ever-shrinking tax base.
Vermont needs to reduce gender disparities in the labor force, and the state needs more jobs. More women-owned businesses could help on both fronts.
A new report by Change the Story VT shows the potential of female business ownership. According to the report, there’s already a strong entrepreneurial spirit among Vermont women. Read more
Public Assets Institute is pleased to be making a new connection with the University of Vermont. Policy analyst Stephanie Yu has joined the UVM faculty as a Public Policy and Community Research Fellow at the university’s Center for Research on Vermont. Read more
We all need time off to care for a child, a parent, or ourselves from time to time, and we need to do it without losing income.
Times have changed. Increasingly, working parents are the norm, not a rarity. According to 2015 U.S. Census data, 3 out of 4 Vermont children live in families where all parents work. And workers without children get sick or need to take care of elderly parents. However, school schedules, employment policies, and cultural expectations are still based on the past, when most workers (men) had stay-at-home spouses (women). This is no longer reality. State policy needs to change to address the needs of today’s families.
Poverty and hunger hinder children’s opportunities to succeed in school. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington, D.C., highlights the role of the country’s largest child nutrition program in improving educational outcomes for kids from low-income households, including nearly 32,000 children in Vermont.
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, goes by the name 3SquaresVT in Vermont. The federally funded program is available to low-income households that meet certain eligibility requirements. Benefits vary with income and family size, with the maximum benefit going to households with no net income. One out of every four children in Vermont receives benefits under 3SquaresVT, which is about the same as the national average.
The state’s economy would be stronger, and Vermonters would feel more secure financially if we all had retirement nest eggs. According to a 2012 report by the National Institute for Retirement Security, “[l]ess than half of Vermont workers participate in a retirement plan at work.” And those who have defined contribution accounts, the Institute found, the average balance is the lowest in the country—just $19,768.
Creating a publicly administered retirement program for all Vermont residents is just one of the recommendations in A Framework for Progress: Investing in Vermont’s people, infrastructure, and good government, the latest Public Assets report. In the last two years, Illinois, Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, and California have created publicly managed retirement plans for private sector workers, and half of the states of exploring similar plans.