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.
This year’s Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership will go to Michael Monte.
Monte serves as Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Champlain Housing Trust. He has more than 30 years of experience in the community and economic development field. Read more
Household income went up and poverty went down in Vermont in 2015, mirroring the improvements at the national level that the U.S. Census reported on Tuesday.
The new American Community Survey data from the Census show median household income in Vermont was $56,990 last year. After adjusting for inflation, that represented an increase of nearly $2,800, or 5.1 percent. Vermont’s median household income in 2015 was about $1,200 higher than the national median household income, but the percentage increase was the same.
For all of the problems and criticism swirling around the state’s health insurance exchange, Vermont is getting results where it counts. New Census data released today show Vermont tied with the District of Columbia for having the second lowest percentage of residents without health insurance. According to the Census, in 2015 just 3.8 percent of Vermonters were uninsured.
Massachusetts was ranked first, with 2.8 percent with no health care coverage. Alaska was last; 14.9 percent of residents there were uninsured last year.
Starting in the fall of 2013, people in Vermont and across the country began signing up for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Some states, like Vermont, set up their own online exchanges for people to purchase health insurance. Other states opted to let the federal government run the exchanges.
Tomorrow, August 9, is primary day. Not the presidential primary, which Vermont held on Town Meeting Day in March. It’s the other one—the primary for state offices and the General Assembly. It’s time to choose party candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, attorney general, and all 180 Vermont House and Senate seats. Read more
High-quality child care in Vermont is too expensive, too hard to find, too far away from too many families, and pays workers far too little. At least that’s what a new report by Let’s Grow Kids found. The supply is particularly bad for infants and toddlers. Read more
Welcoming refugees could solve a lot of problems worrying Vermont policy makers.
Declining enrollment in schools? Check.
Sluggish economic growth? Check.
Aging population? Check.
Stagnant population growth? Check.
Lack of diversity in many Vermont communities? Check.
A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Center for American Progress confirms what many immigrant advocates have long believed: Rather than being a burden on communities, refugees contribute positively to local and state economies. Read more