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

Vermont doesn’t need more low-wage jobs

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm | * Comments (3)

Thousands of Vermonters work at jobs that don’t pay enough to meet their families’ basic needs. That leaves Vermont taxpayers paying tens of millions of dollars to pick up the slack left by employers who pay so little that hard working men and women have to turn to public assistance. Read more

New data show Vermont’s problem is revenue, not spending

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Comments Off on New data show Vermont’s problem is revenue, not spending

All we’ve heard from Montpelier this year, from the governor to legislative leaders, is that Vermont has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. A new analysis by the Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) shows this conventional wisdom is wrong.

The JFO data show state spending has gone down as a percentage of the economy over the last 10 years. Read more

Perennial budget gaps mean our policies aren’t working

Posted by Sarah Lyons on March 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Comments Off on Perennial budget gaps mean our policies aren’t working

Paul Cillo testified before the Senate Finance Committee yesterday and suggested two things we need to do to bring Vermont’s tax and budget policies into the 21st Century:

1. Acknowledge that what we’ve been doing isn’t working.

We started the 21st Century with massive federal tax cuts that were supposed to stimulate the economy, create jobs and bring prosperity to all. Read more

Letter to Legislative Leaders: Budget Cuts Unnecessary

Posted by Sarah Lyons on March 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm | * Comments (1)

PDF Version

March 16, 2015

The Honorable Shap Smith, Speaker of the House The Honorable John Campbell, President Pro Tempore of the Senate State House 115 State Street Montpelier, VT   05633

Dear Speaker Smith and President Pro Tempore Campbell,

We’re writing with concern about the current budget situation and with a proposal for a possible solution. Read more

2016 state budget: Cuts won’t fix the problem

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm | * Comments (2)

Montpelier is struggling to plug a state budget gap again this year—$113 million. As in the past, the preferred option is cutting Vermont’s already slashed-to-slivers state services. While austerity proponents love it, this strategy will make Vermonters more miserable, especially those who’ve seen their real incomes decline for a decade. Read more

Vermont’s economic growth is not widely shared

Posted by Jack Hoffman on February 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm | * Comments (1)

There should be a bright side to Gov. Peter Shumlin’s frequent complaint that Vermont business owners have difficulty finding skilled workers. When there is work to be done and not enough workers, wages should go up.

That would be a good thing, and something that needs to happen in Vermont. Read more

Testimony to House Commerce Committee – 02/11/15

Posted by Sarah Lyons on February 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Comments Off on Testimony to House Commerce Committee – 02/11/15

February 11, 2015

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee.

My name is Paul Cillo. I’m the president of Public Assets Institute. We’re a Montpelier-based nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy think tank that was established in 2003.

For those of you who don’t know about Public Assets Institute, we analyze Vermont fiscal policy—tax, budget, and economic policy— with the ordinary Vermonter in mind. Read more

Testimony to House Education Committee – 01/16/15

Posted by Sarah Lyons on January 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm | * Comments (4)

January 16, 2015  (On January 29 Paul Cillo presented essentially the same testimony to the Senate Education Committee)

Mr. Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Ranking member, 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. Read more