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
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
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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