Vermont Can Invest in Brighter Future With Targeted Income Tax Measure

Posted by Sarah Lyons on February 12, 2024 at 12:14 pm | Comments Off on Vermont Can Invest in Brighter Future With Targeted Income Tax Measure

February 1, 2024

Testimony of Wesley Tharpe, Senior Advisor for State Tax Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Before the Vermont House Ways and Means Committee

Chair Kornheiser, distinguished members—good morning. I’m Wesley Tharpe, and I’m Senior Advisor for State Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington, D.C. Thank you very much for the invitation to speak, and I appreciate the opportunity to share some brief perspective here today and to take any questions you may have at the end.

House Ways and Means Committee Testimony—January 25, 2024

Posted by Stephanie Yu on January 25, 2024 at 1:56 pm | * Comments (4)

Hi everyone, thanks for having me back. Again, I’m Stephanie Yu, Executive Director of Public Assets Institute. I just want to make a couple of quick points about what all this great work (and clear, thoughtful methodology behind it) from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) means.

First, that the goal is a progressive tax system; we’ve heard now that our tax system actually improves income inequality unlike so many states, but that it remains regressive at the top end and is not truly a progressive system.

So what’s the best way to make our system more progressive? Do we need to increase taxes on the high end or decrease them on the low end? I think the answer is both.

Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 23, 2024 Budget Address

Posted by Stephanie Yu on January 24, 2024 at 8:42 am | Comments Off on Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 23, 2024 Budget Address

For a speech that started out on a theme of affordability, it was striking how much Gov. Phil Scott’s budget address focused on the idea of public investment to deal with problems Vermonters face. He repeatedly talked about investing, rather than spending. But he also said he would make his investments while holding to a modest increase in the General Fund portion of the budget.

It was a confusing message. The governor acknowledged that smart, public investing is the key to addressing housing, public safety, drug addiction, workforce training, and other initiatives, so why is he proposing to invest so little? Investments often require some extra initial effort, and an ongoing commitment to provide the resources necessary to get the job done. Vermont has the capacity—and the obligation—to act on these problems now, instead of waiting for Washington or economic winds to somehow generate clearly needed new revenue. These are not problems that we can solve by doing more of the same.

It’s time for the wealthiest to pay their fair share in taxes

Posted by Anika Heilweil on December 8, 2023 at 10:56 am | * Comments (1)

We can build a Vermont that works for everyone who lives here.


We can have thriving downtowns, safe roads and bridges, and housing that people can afford. Our children can learn in vibrant and supportive schools. We can protect our environment. We can care for Vermont families at every stage of life.

But first, we need to look at our tax code. That’s right—our tax code.

In recent decades, wages for many Vermont residents have not kept up with the costs of living. Meanwhile, elected officials tell us that Vermont doesn’t have the money to make crucial public investments to take care of families, infrastructure, and the environment.

Yet the data show that this scarcity narrative is rhetoric, not reality. Income inequality is growing in Vermont. Our wealthiest residents are getting wealthier. Our highest income earners are earning more and getting a larger and larger share of overall income. And our current tax structure protects the wealth of a small number of residents, instead of focusing on the needs of all people in Vermont.

We can reduce poverty, but will we?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 5, 2023 at 2:47 pm | Comments Off on We can reduce poverty, but will we?

We have the means to reduce poverty. What we need is the political will. That is the conclusion of a massive real-world experiment that took place during the Covid pandemic of 2020-2022. Now that the emergency has subsided, we are beginning to see the effects of actions—and the dangers of inaction—taken by political leaders to help people meet their ongoing basic needs.

In response to the economic problems triggered by the Covid pandemic, the federal government moved quickly to put money in people’s pockets. Some of the efforts were temporary, such as the Economic Impact Payments and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that helped employers retain their workers while businesses were shut down. Once things opened up again, those programs lapsed.

Flood Update

Posted by Staff on July 17, 2023 at 1:22 pm | Comments Off on Flood Update

We’re grateful all of our staff and board are safe and sound. But the same cannot be said for our office, much of downtown Montpelier and many other parts of the state.

Like so many other businesses on Main Street in Montpelier, our basement office was completely submerged and nothing in it was salvageable. We were able to get into it late last week alongside our officemates at Voices for Vermont’s Children. And an amazing group of volunteers showed up and helped us, working tirelessly in the rain and the mud to clear everything out.

The post office has informed us that the mail that was in their building when the flood hit was lost, so if you’ve sent us mail or tried to be in touch via our main phone line and voicemail in the past few weeks, please check in with Steph directly at

Public Assets’ statement on H. 471

Posted by Staff on June 23, 2023 at 11:22 am | * Comments (1)

There has been a lot of attention on the veto session this week and all that was accomplished this year—universal school meals, improved but imperfect investments in housing, and of course the signature accomplishment: the biggest investment in childcare in the country. But a less-noticed, otherwise unremarkable tax bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Scott contained two important provisions also worth celebrating.

H.471, amid all of its technical changes, makes the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the new state Child Tax Credit (CTC) available to all qualifying Vermont residents regardless of whether they have a Social Security card or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). In addition to safeguards already in place protecting filers' information, H.471 goes further to protect immigration status and identity for people filing for the EITC and CTC. The new law also will authorize the state to disburse individual Child Tax Credit payments over the course of a year when, and if, the federal government allows.

The childcare debate that wasn’t

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 18, 2023 at 12:33 pm | * Comments (1)

Expansion of Vermont’s childcare subsidy program with an infusion of $120 million in new revenue will be a signal achievement of the 2023 legislative session if it survives a gubernatorial veto. There is more to be done, but this will be transformative for Vermont. Not just for families currently using paid childcare and any family thinking about having a kid or another kid, going back to work, or moving to Vermont, but for the well-being of all our kids. That means a better state for all of us.

Unfortunately, in the rush to adjournment, public debate about how to fund childcare expansion got short shrift. Yes, there were headlines about an impasse between the Senate and the House. The Senate wanted to levy a new payroll tax; the House wanted to increase personal and corporate income taxes. But the Senate threatened to scuttle the reform effort if it didn’t get its way, so there was no public debate and Vermonters never got a chance to weigh in on how they wanted to pay for improving the state’s child care system.

Celebrate 20 years of fighting for a just and thriving Vermont! 

Posted by Stephanie Yu on May 2, 2023 at 12:20 pm | Comments Off on Celebrate 20 years of fighting for a just and thriving Vermont! 

Over the past 20 years, our deep experience, timely, reliable data, and clear, accessible analysis has driven major policy improvements for Vermonters, from expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, to raising the minimum wage, and making school funding more equitable for all our kids.

In honor of our twentieth anniversary this year, we’ll be celebrating our past wins and inviting more people to get involved in our work.

Vermont families need both the Child Tax Credit and childcare investments

Posted by Stephanie Yu on April 3, 2023 at 12:17 pm | * Comments (2)

The Vermont Senate voted Friday to repeal the brand-new Child Tax Credit (CTC) in order to redirect funds to early care and education.

But there is no reason to pit the two against each other.

Vermont needs both.