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.

Ensure that families get the state Child Tax Credit

Posted by Julie Lowell on February 20, 2023 at 4:14 pm | Comments Off on Ensure that families get the state Child Tax Credit

Amid rising prices and expiring pandemic assistance for housing, food, and other basics, there’s some good news for Vermonters and their kids. Families most in need—those with low or no earnings—with children under 6 can now receive $1,000 from the refundable Vermont Child Tax Credit when they file their 2022 tax returns.

But here’s the challenge: Many families with low earnings don’t have to file taxes—so they risk missing out on these credits. In 2019 the IRS estimated that 17 percent of Vermont filers did not claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, a similar refundable tax credit targeting families with low income, even though they were eligible.

Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 20, 2023 Budget Address

Posted by Staff on January 20, 2023 at 3:52 pm | Comments Off on Statement on Gov. Phil Scott’s Jan. 20, 2023 Budget Address

The most memorable part of Gov. Phil Scott’s fiscal 2024 budget address had nothing to do with the budget. He ended his speech extending a hand to immigrants: “With compassion and courage, we can do our part to welcome those bold or desperate enough to leave their lives, and all they’ve ever known, behind to travel thousands of miles just to live the American dream.” It was an important message in these polarized times.

For everyone to access that American dream, we need well-funded public services. We were encouraged by the governor’s call for expanded child care services, but we need to see the details. A RAND Corporation report released last week estimated child care expansion could cost between $179 million and $279 million. The governor said additional services could be provided “without asking families with less to pay for families with more.” Does that mean he’s ready to ask families with more to pay for families with less?

Covid showed us the value of public investment

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 12, 2023 at 11:25 am | Comments Off on Covid showed us the value of public investment

There were two threads running through Gov. Phil Scott’s fourth Inaugural Address last week. One was a clear, even refreshing, acknowledgement of the role that government and money played in the last few years to protect Vermonters and improve their lives. The other was the governor’s vision of a future Vermont where all communities, big and small, have the tools they need to be “more dynamic and vibrant.”

The challenge of this new biennium will be to keep these two threads connected. Continued public investment—government and money—will be required to provide the kind of infrastructure and services the governor wants Vermonters to have.

Governor Scott painted an inspiring picture of what Vermont could achieve. It’s hard to argue with his to-do list.

New Medicaid agreement opens health care opportunities

Posted by Julie Lowell on October 12, 2022 at 1:50 pm | Comments Off on New Medicaid agreement opens health care opportunities

Under Vermont’s newest Medicaid agreement with the federal government, Vermont will get more money and be allowed more flexibility in the services it provides and the people it provides them to. It also gives the state support to address some difficult public health issues that have worsened during the pandemic.

Medicaid, an entitlement program that gives states federal matching funds for health care services for low-income residents, affects about a third of Vermonters, including more than 65,000 children. Each year it accounts for nearly 30 percent of health care dollars spent on Vermonters. Before the pandemic Medicaid spending was about $1.8 billion in federal and state dollars combined. For every dollar from the state, the feds put in about $1.17. The federal share increased during the pandemic and is expected to return to the previous level when the pandemic recovery measure sunsets.

Student loan relief also comes with tax relief

Posted by Jack Hoffman on September 27, 2022 at 3:23 pm | Comments Off on Student loan relief also comes with tax relief

Vermonters who qualify for a reduction in their student loan debt will get another break from the state: The loan forgiveness won’t be taxed.

Debt forgiveness is typically counted as income and taxed by both federal and state governments. People who negotiate debt reduction with credit card companies are sometimes surprised to learn they owe income taxes on the amount written off.

Before President Joe Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plan, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed in 2021, anticipated the tax consequences of such a proposal. Under ARPA, federal student loan debt forgiven through 2025 is not be counted as federal taxable income.

Joe Wiah, Refugee Resettlement Director, to Receive the 2022 Con Hogan Award

Posted by Staff on September 22, 2022 at 11:42 am | Comments Off on Joe Wiah, Refugee Resettlement Director, to Receive the 2022 Con Hogan Award

The Vermont Community Foundation and the organizing committee for the Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial Community Leadership are pleased to announce that Joe Wiah will be honored with this year’s award. Wiah is Director of the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s (ECDC) Multicultural Community Center in Brattleboro.

The annual award, established by a group of Con Hogan’s colleagues in 2015, celebrates his life’s work by recognizing a community leader who shares his vision of a better Vermont and seizes the responsibility for making that vision real. The awardee shows deep community involvement, generosity, enthusiasm, a collaborative approach, and a focus on data and measurable outcomes in their work.