We were shocked and saddened to learn that Public Assets’ board chair, Larry Mandell, died on January 21.

It was shocking because he was active and by all appearances healthy. I had spoken with Larry a few days before he died and nothing about that conversation suggested that his symptoms would prove fatal. He was in the hospital for some tests. But it turns out that Larry had a rare and fast-acting disease called amyloidosis that caused his heart to stop suddenly.

We were saddened because Larry was a friend and a leader at Public Assets Institute. We miss him.

I had known Larry Mandell for decades, though just to say hello and exchange pleasantries. We had never had a conversation—until November 9, 2011.

Here we go again.

As his predecessor did six years ago, Gov. Phil Scott has proposed more money to help low-income families pay for high quality child care. It's a worthy investment, as it would have been in 2013. But repeating the mistake his predecessor made, Governor Scott wants to pay for his proposal by taking from Peter to pay Paul.

The governor's budget for fiscal 2020 calls for about $11–13 million in new taxes, including a $7 million increase Vermont could get by changing the way it taxes certain internet sales. But sales taxes, as a result of a major reshuffle the Legislature approved last year, are now dedicated exclusively to the Education Fund. So while raising the additional revenue makes sense, and would help to level the playing field for Vermont retailers, skimming money from the Education Fund shifts costs onto the property tax.

Many Vermonters are not benefiting from the state’s economic growth. That’s the central message of State of Working Vermont 2018. The data are new. But the message was similar in the 2017 report—and the year before that, and the year before that.

State of Working Vermont 2018, published in a readable chart-book format with brief explanatory text, includes indicators designed to answer three questions:

  1. Did the overall Vermont economy grow, and who benefited?
  2. Were Vermonters able to make ends meet?
  3. How was the job market for Vermonters, and who was working?

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