Public Assets Institute > Blog > Statement on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Fiscal 2016 Budget Address

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

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. Peter Shumlin acknowledged some of these struggles that many Vermonters face, but the real test of his spending proposal for the coming year is how well it addresses Vermonters’ basic needs and helps bend the curve on these troubling trends.

Strengthening Medicaid with a new payroll tax and matching federal dollars is a step in the right direction toward a fairer way to pay for health care. But the proposed cuts to Reach Up and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are going to make life much harder, not better, for some of the state’s most vulnerable families. It appears the governor also wants to lower the threshold for the wages a business must pay in order to qualify for tax breaks. Vermont families need jobs with higher, not lower, wages if we hope to reduce income inequality and poverty in the state.

The Legislature has committed itself to following fiscal policies that address Vermonters’ needs. We encourage lawmakers to keep that commitment in mind as they take up the governor’s fiscal 2016 budget.

Posted by Paul Cillo on January 15, 2015 at 5:32 pm

One Response to “Statement on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Fiscal 2016 Budget Address”

  1. John Freidin says:

    Poverty and low incomes are at the center of most problems VT faces: education, good child rearing, crime, and low tax revenues. I urge legislators to keep these matters at the forefront of their thinking as they decide what to include in bills and which bills to support. Economic development is something we all can support as long as it puts money in the pockets of families whose incomes are in the lowest 30%.