Mi escuela es su escuela

Posted by Jack Hoffman on July 22, 2014 at 12:36 pm | * Comments (2)

There are humanitarian reasons for Gov. Peter Shumlin to answer President Obama’s call for help with the Central American refugees who have flocked to the U.S. in recent months. But taking in school-age children, especially on a long-term basis, also could help him with one of the perceived problems with Vermont’s education system. Read more

Employer health insurance is employee compensation

Posted by Jack Hoffman on July 16, 2014 at 10:59 am | * Comments (2)

Employer-sponsored health insurance is a misnomer. Money that an employer putatively “contributes” to a company health insurance plan is simply employee compensation in another form.

The point is driven home in a recent column in the American Prospect by Paul Waldman about the U.S. Read more

A new year starts in July

Posted by Jack Hoffman on July 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Comments (0)

July 1 marks the beginning of Vermont’s fiscal year, and our FY2015 Vermont State Budget Chartbook shows the milestones in the development of the budget for the new fiscal year. The final $5.59 billion appropriations bill for this year represents a 4.1 percent increase ($222 million) over adjusted spending for fiscal 2014. Read more

Data can’t be a matter of opinion

Posted by Jack Hoffman on June 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Comments (0)

Readers of vtdigger, Vermont’s online news organization, were probably surprised to read over the weekend that the Legislature “forced nearly $100 million in new property taxes on Vermonters” to pay for education next year. Unfortunately, the editors were not surprised. If they had been, they might have done some fact checking to make sure the data in the commentary published last Saturday were accurate.  Read more

Streamlining democracy

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm | * Comments (3)

If the Legislature is serious about efficient governance, it might want to look closer to home before trying to streamline and consolidate Vermont’s school system. Vermont has a lot of legislators for such a small state. Perhaps the House and Senate would be more cost effective if they were more like the rest of the country. Read more

Raising Restoring the Minimum Wage

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 15, 2014 at 11:49 am | * Comments (1)

The Vermont Legislature is getting—and taking—credit for raising the state minimum wage this session. It’s true that over the next four years, the rate will gradually rise to $10.50 an hour, $1 an hour more than the rate was projected to rise if the Legislature had done nothing. Read more

House-passed budget is little changed from governor’s plan

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 14, 2014 at 10:29 am | Comments (0)

As with the governor’s proposed budget, the fiscal 2015 appropriations bill approved by the Vermont House concentrates nearly all spending increases in the Agency of Human Services, education, and the state’s transportation system. The House voted for appropriations totaling $5.59 billion for next year. Read more

The real problem: We need more kids

Posted by Sarah Lyons on April 2, 2014 at 9:35 am | Comments (0)

Gov. Peter Shumlin pointed to enrollment recently as the education funding problem Vermont faces. “We’re spending too much money for the number of kids we have,” the governor said on Vermont Public Radio.

Policy makers in Montpelier have struggled for years with the decline in the state’s school-age population. Read more

Testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee – 03/11/14

Posted by Sarah Lyons on March 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm | * Comments (1)

House Ways and Means March 11, 2014

Good afternoon. My name is Jack Hoffman. I’m an analyst with Public Assets Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Montpelier that focuses on state fiscal policy, including education finance. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. Read more

All taxes are ‘income taxes’

Posted by Sarah Lyons on March 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Comments (0)

In the wake of the defeat of 34 school budgets on Town Meeting Day, the Legislature has been reexamining how the state collects revenue for public education. One change lawmakers are considering is to have more residents pay school taxes based on income rather than the value of their primary residence. Read more