Will the budget do the job? That’s the question

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Comments (0)

Next Tuesday, Vermonters get their first chance to weigh in on the fiscal 2016 state budget, which the governor will present in January and the Legislature will review and revise during the session. Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding and Finance and Management Commissioner Jim Reardon are hosting two public forums this month:

Oct. Read more

Governor prepares for 2016 cuts to state services

Posted by Paul Cillo on September 30, 2014 at 8:23 am | * Comments (1)

A month after announcing a 2 percent cut to the current year’s budget, the Shumlin Administration is signaling its intention to make additional cuts of as much as 5 percent and possibly more next year (fiscal 2016). For an already anemic state government that is suffering from staffing shortages and struggling to meet its obligations to residents, the administration’s directive cannot be good for Vermonters or for state employee morale. Read more

Pies & Charts

Posted by Sarah Lyons on August 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm | * Comments (1)

You’re invited to Pies & Charts!

The Public Assets team will be traveling around the state this fall, with tasty pies and enlightening charts. Please join us, enjoy the food, and take home some tools to help you talk with policymakers about economic issues in Vermont. Read more

Rescissions aren’t just about the money

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Comments (0)

Will Vermonters be better off or worse off if this year’s state budget is reduced by $36 million? That question wasn’t addressed in the documents presented by the Shumlin administration Monday when it unveiled a plan to cut the fiscal 2015 budget. Read more

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