Maybe we should revisit the minimum wage

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Comments Off on Maybe we should revisit the minimum wage

Income inequality is a serious problem in Vermont that needs to be addressed on several fronts, and paying people more for their labor, especially those at the bottom, should be part of the strategy.

Now political leaders and workers’ advocates who support a higher minimum wage may find they have some unexpected allies. Read more

House fiscal 2017 budget

Posted by Stephanie Yu on April 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm | * Comments (1)

The House passed its fiscal 2017 budget along with tax and fee bills raising approximately $49 million in new revenue to support it.1 The House budget came in at $5.81 billion, approximately $1 million above the governor’s recommendation. Overall, the House made minor changes to the governor’s spending plan. Read more

Testimony to House Education Committee, March 17, 2016

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 17, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Comments Off on Testimony to House Education Committee, March 17, 2016

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Paul Cillo. I’m the president of Public Assets Institute. We’re a nonpartisan, 501c3 nonprofit located here in Montpelier. We provide state tax, budget, and economic analysis from the perspective of ordinary Vermonters. Read more

What is a budget gap anyway

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 11, 2016 at 4:40 pm | * Comments (2)

Closing the budget gap is the Legislature’s focus again this year as it has been for the past eight sessions.

What is a budget gap? It’s the difference between projected state revenue and … well, it’s actually hard to say.

The administration and the Legislature start the budget gap calculation with a revenue estimate for the next fiscal year. Read more

Just Say No to Election-Year Temptation

Posted by Jack Hoffman on February 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm | * Comments (1)

On opening day of the 2016 legislative session, House Speaker Shap Smith had this advice for his colleagues: “There will be those who suggest that because this is an election year, that we will focus on politics rather than the people’s business. Read more

Job creation financial incentives: An outdated strategy

Posted by Paul Cillo on February 3, 2016 at 10:53 am | * Comments (2)

New evidence finds that public investments that help build a skilled workforce and improve the quality of life for local residents are more likely to create jobs and build a strong economy than tax cuts and attempts to lure businesses with financial incentives. Read more

5 Things to Look for in the Governor’s 2017 Budget

Posted by Stephanie Yu on January 20, 2016 at 10:55 am | Comments Off on 5 Things to Look for in the Governor’s 2017 Budget

Governor Shumlin will present his fiscal 2017 budget to the Legislature on Thursday, January 21 at 2:00 PM. Here are a few of the things we’ll be looking for.

1. How well does the state budget meet the needs of Vermonters and advance their economic well-being? Read more

Vermont House should repeal unfair school penalties

Posted by Paul Cillo on January 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm | * Comments (1)

The Vermont General Assembly has a chance this week to walk back from the destructive changes it made last spring to the state’s education funding system. The Senate appears poised to vote to repeal the tax penalties that will hit school districts that exceed arbitrary spending limits set by the Legislature. Read more

Legislature can prevent Town Meeting chaos

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Comments Off on Legislature can prevent Town Meeting chaos

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 Off on Happy Thanksgiving

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