Statement on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Fiscal 2016 Budget Address

Posted by Paul Cillo on January 15, 2015 at 5:32 pm | * Comments (1)

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

Are your school taxes a problem?

Posted by Paul Cillo on December 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Comments Off on Are your school taxes a problem?

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

Paul Cillo: Opening Remarks, vtdigger School Funding Panel

Posted by Paul Cillo on December 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm | * Comments (2)

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

The Atlantic: more tales of Vermont workers

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Comments Off on The Atlantic: more tales of Vermont workers

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

Schools are doing more, and spending more

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm | * Comments (7)

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

Vermont workers are struggling: The Atlantic

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Comments Off on Vermont workers are struggling: The Atlantic

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

They’re voters’ choices, not crises

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 18, 2014 at 7:28 am | * Comments (1)

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

A solution needs a defined problem

Posted by Jack Hoffman on November 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm | * Comments (4)

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

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

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Comments Off on Will the budget do the job? That’s the question

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