State can help Vermonters save for retirement

Posted by Stephanie Yu on March 15, 2017 at 8:43 am | * Comments (6)

Most Vermonters do not have a big enough nest egg for retirement. In fact, for many, the nest has no egg at all. And the problem is worst for women and people of color. These were just some of the findings in a report released earlier this year by the Vermont Public Retirement Study Committee. Read more

We can’t afford more giveaways to high-income Vermonters

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Comments Off on We can’t afford more giveaways to high-income Vermonters

Each year the governor and Legislature go through the handwringing exercise of closing a projected state budget gap. The projected General Fund gap for fiscal 2018 is about $70 million.

As usual, much of the conversation has been about reducing spending to get the budget to balance. Read more

Spending caps undermine the state budget’s purpose

Posted by Stephanie Yu on February 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Comments Off on Spending caps undermine the state budget’s purpose

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

General fund budget gap? What gap?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on February 15, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Comments Off on General fund budget gap? What gap?

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

No homeowner tax relief in governor’s school budget cuts

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 27, 2017 at 5:31 pm | * Comments (1)

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

Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 24, 2017, Budget Address

Posted by Paul Cillo on January 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Comments Off on Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 24, 2017, Budget Address

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

The budget gap solution

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 30, 2016 at 10:05 am | Comments Off on The budget gap solution

“Vermonters need to smoke more.”

That was the eye-catching headline to a recent column by Jon Margolis on 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.

Tapping Vermont’s entrepreneurial talent

Posted by Stephanie Yu on November 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Comments Off on Tapping Vermont’s entrepreneurial talent

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

Stephanie Yu is UVM Fellow

Posted by Paul Cillo on October 27, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Comments Off on Stephanie Yu is UVM Fellow

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

Make Vermont family friendly

Posted by Stephanie Yu on October 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Comments Off on Make Vermont family friendly

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.