Legislature can prevent Town Meeting chaos

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Comments (0)

The Vermont Legislature has an opportunity to show respect to local voters and local school officials by getting two things done before the end of January:

Repeal the rigid spending limits that threaten to unnecessarily increase property taxes this year. Set the education tax yields for fiscal 2017 so that voters will know the tax consequences of their school budgets on Town Meeting Day. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Paul Cillo on November 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments (0)

Are you feeling a little tense as you anticipate time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving dinner table?

Is it something more than the new turkey recipe that’s making you anxious?

Are you worried that when the conversation turns to politics and the economy you won’t have the facts at your command? Read more

Fiscal 2017 Budget Forum Webinars

Posted by Stephanie Yu on November 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm | * Comments (1)

The Shumlin Administration will hold two public budget forums via webinar on Monday, November 23, 2015.

For details about how to participate, go to: http://finance.vermont.gov/Event/publicbudgetforums. Citizens can also weigh in on the budget process through an online survey. These are new strategies for gathering public input and we hope they will allow more Vermonters to participate. Read more

Vermont’s real budget problem

Posted by Paul Cillo on November 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm | * Comments (2)

Vermont has a budget problem: the state budget is not meeting Vermont’s needs.

The major indicators of Vermonters’ economic wellbeing are moving in the wrong direction. Median household income is falling, poverty and homelessness are rising, and one in eight Vermonters needs food stamps to have enough to eat. Read more

Vermonters need a more transparent budget process

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 8, 2015 at 9:24 am | * Comments (2)

The need for a more open and transparent budget process became clear last week with the news that the state is on the hook for an extra $18 million in Medicaid payments this year. The payments weren’t factored in last spring when the administration and the Legislature put together the state budget, so now policymakers are scrambling to come up with the money. Read more

The Con Hogan Award

Posted by Paul Cillo on September 19, 2015 at 10:10 am | * Comments (2)

In 1973, as a UVM student, I had the opportunity to be a University Year for Action intern—similar to AmeriCorps—at the Vermont Department of Corrections. The experience changed my life. And Con Hogan, who was Deputy Commissioner, was a big reason it did. Read more

Public Assets is Hiring

Posted by Sarah Lyons on June 11, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Comments (0)

Public Assets Institute is looking for a new Policy Analyst who will become part of our team analyzing a range of Vermont fiscal and economic issues and helping to advance policies that ensure all Vermonters, especially low- and moderate-income residents, have the opportunity to succeed. Read more

At best, the new education tax law is unfair

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 22, 2015 at 10:30 am | * Comments (4)

In addition to pushing up property taxes in many towns, the education reform bill passed in the closing days of the session violates a fundamental principle of fairness in Vermont’s education funding system: towns with the same education spending per pupil have the same homestead tax rates. Read more

Legislature’s solution to high property taxes? Raise property taxes

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm | * Comments (1)

Desperate to find a way to reduce property taxes, the Legislature’s latest idea is to increase property taxes in scores of communities. Huh?

Seriously. The plan is to impose property tax penalties on districts with per-pupil spending that is higher than the Legislature thinks it should be. Read more

More cost shifts to the Education Fund

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm | * Comments (1)

The Vermont Legislature is pushing ahead with school consolidation on the promise that it will produce better educational opportunities for Vermont children and lower costs for taxpayers. But if consolidation is such a good idea, why won’t lawmakers—to borrow a well-worn phrase—put a little skin in the game and invest General Fund dollars in the reform effort? Read more