Unlike most states, incomes fell in Vermont

Posted by Jack Hoffman on September 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm | * Comments (3)

Median household income in Vermont, after adjusting for inflation, fell 2.4 percent last year to $57,513, according to new U.S. Census figures released today. It was Vermont’s second decline in two years for this key economic indicator, although the drop in 2016 was negligible. Read more

Vermonters want a minimum wage increase

Posted by Stephanie Yu on August 27, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Comments (0)

Vermonters have spoken. A recent poll commissioned by Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS showed a majority of Vermonters favor going to a $15 minimum wage and over 80 percent support raising it above the current level.

In all the chaos of the special session and getting a budget in place before July 1, the governor’s 13 vetoes at the end of the regular legislative session didn’t get much attention. Read more

A few steps forward—and back

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 21, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Comments Off on A few steps forward—and back

It should be clear by now that Washington is committed to a lopsided economy that keeps concentrating money in the hands of fewer and fewer people. But in some state capitals, including Montpelier, elected officials are beginning to recognize that smarter tax policies are aimed at helping working families. Read more

Behind the budget drama

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 8, 2018 at 4:05 am | Comments Off on Behind the budget drama

There’s a case to be made that this year’s budget showdown in Montpelier was lot of high drama with little substance. After all the drama, the budget that was finally approved created one problem that the Legislature will have to address next year and ignored another that should have been addressed long ago.

The property tax is what’s wrong with school taxes

Posted by Jack Hoffman on July 2, 2018 at 12:28 pm | * Comments (1)

It was a messy finish to a messy legislative session, but Vermonters can take some comfort that no permanent damage was done to the state education funding system. It’s disappointing that the governor insisted on another year of pretend budgeting—using one-time revenue again to artificially lower property tax rates. Read more

Governor’s plan would raid the Education Fund

Posted by Jack Hoffman on June 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm | * Comments (1)

Public education—pre-k through 12—has become a coveted source of revenue in recent years. People look at the $1.7 billion Education Fund and imagine how some efficiencies here, a little school consolidation there, could free up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now Gov. Phil Scott has proposed his “Five-Year Education Revitalization, Tax Stabilization, and Investment Act.” It dangles the prospect of improving education, but the real aim appears to be a raid on the Education Fund.

Nominations are Open for 2018 Con Hogan Community Leadership Award

Posted by Paul Cillo on May 29, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Comments Off on Nominations are Open for 2018 Con Hogan Community Leadership Award

Winner to Receive $15,000 Cash Prize Nominations are now being accepted for the $15,000 Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial Community Leadership. Initiated in 2015, the annual award is a tribute to Con Hogan’s life’s work and commitment to public service. Read more

School taxes will increase with governor’s flat rate

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Comments Off on School taxes will increase with governor’s flat rate

Vermonters know there’s a difference between taxes and tax rates. Especially when it comes to property taxes, a lower rate doesn’t mean lower taxes if the grand list value of a property goes up. It’s important to distinguish between taxes and rates as the administration and the Legislature seek a compromise on education funding for next year. Read more

There’s no Education Fund deficit

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 9, 2018 at 9:54 am | * Comments (1)

Pssst. Did you hear about the $60 million deficit in the Education Fund?

Guess what. It’s not true.

Given the headlines and news stories in recent weeks, Vermonters may be surprised to hear there is no deficit in the Education Fund. That’s because funding for schools—like funding for municipalities—doesn’t work like the state budget, and never has. Citizens vote directly on their school and municipal budgets. Their elected representatives vote on the state budget. That makes a big difference.

Too little, too late for the governor’s education plan

Posted by Stephanie Yu on May 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm | * Comments (1)

It’s finally spring in Vermont. That means a little lingering snow, the occasional summer-like day, and a last-minute proposal from Governor Scott to slash education spending.

In a replay of 2017, just when the Legislature is wrapping up its negotiations on the budget, the education fund and other bills, the governor this week upended the process by releasing a proposal to cut education spending. Read more