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
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
Poverty, hunger, and homelessness are on the rise in Vermont. Meanwhile, median household income has been steadily declining since before the recession, and the gap between those at the top and everyone else is getting wider. In his budget address, Gov. Read more
There is serious talk in the Legislature about changing how we govern and fund public education in Vermont. And proposed changes could have a dramatic effect on Vermonters’ control over their schools, on who pays the bill, and on the quality of education available to our children. Read more
December 11, 2014, Capitol Plaza Hotel, Montpelier Opening remarks
Vtdigger asked the members of this panel to propose solutions to the “K-12 education affordability crisis.” I want to focus the limited time in my opening remarks on one question: What crisis? Read more
Alana Semuels documented the struggles of low-wage Vermont workers in an article earlier this week in The Atlantic. Now she has painted another, more hopeful picture. “A New Business Strategy: Treating Employees Well” focuses on employees at King Arthur Flour in Norwich. Read more
Exhibit A among current critics of Vermont’s education funding system is some version of a chart showing annual education expenditures going up over time and school enrollment going down. Why are we spending more and more money to educate fewer and fewer kids? Read more
The Legislature took a step in the right direction last session when it raised the minimum wage, although it could have done more to offset the state’s increasing income inequality by pushing the minimum higher and more quickly. As it is, Vermont’s minimum wage won’t reach $10.50 until 2018. Read more
Amid all of the speculation about the November election results, one thing seems clear: it was a pretty good year for incumbents. More than 90 percent of current members who ran for the Vermont House or Senate were re-elected. Next year, three out of four seats in the Legislature will be filled by the same people who occupied them last session. Read more
There wasn’t a lot of substance in this election season. “Where’s the beef?” isn’t a question we hear much during campaigns anymore, as Jon Margolis lamented in his column in vtdigger this week. But while candidates may not need to offer thoughtful, workable proposals or even clearly define problems to get elected, they will need to do both after Election Day if they want to improve life in Vermont. Read more