It’s time to weigh in on the state budget

Posted by Stephanie Yu on December 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Comments Off on It’s time to weigh in on the state budget

Every year the governor and his administration invite the public to comment on budget priorities as they develop next year’s spending plan. The governor kicks off the state budget process each year by putting together a budget proposal that he delivers to the Legislature in January. Read more

Public Assets is hiring

Posted by Paul Cillo on November 22, 2021 at 2:38 pm | Comments Off on Public Assets is hiring

Public Assets Institute is seeking a manager for the Fund Vermont’s Future (FVF) Campaign.

The FVF Campaign aims to change how state priorities and budgets are developed and funded by centering people at every stage of the process, shifting from a scarcity mindset, and budgeting transparently with meaningful public input. FVF is a coalition-based project of Public Assets Institute.

The Campaign Manager will oversee campaign development, implementation, and management and help with both field and legislative advocacy campaign plans, expanding the FVF coalition, building partnerships, educating policymakers and the public, and shaping the public debate. The Manager will provide administrative support to the Campaign Steering Committee.

$200 million to Vermont cities and towns

Posted by Julie Lowell on November 18, 2021 at 11:27 am | Comments Off on $200 million to Vermont cities and towns

Right now, Vermont municipalities have an opportunity to make investments that will move their communities forward with federal pandemic relief funds. You may be asking: How is my community using these funds? How can I participate in the process?

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated over $200 million to Vermont cities, towns, and villages (see how much your town received here). This is nearly 40 percent of the amount collected in local taxes in 2020. The money can be spent broadly on costs incurred through 2024 to address COVID-19 impacts, giving local governments the chance to help residents rebuild and recover from the pandemic.

The expanded Child Tax Credit should be permanent

Posted by Julie Lowell on October 19, 2021 at 9:25 am | Comments Off on The expanded Child Tax Credit should be permanent

The pandemic has demanded quick responses from government over the past 18 months, from protecting public health to making sure Vermonters had food, shelter, and financial security during an unprecedented economic rollercoaster.

On the whole, our government has gotten a lot of things right: access to testing and treatment for COVID-19, a massive vaccine rollout in a matter of weeks, and financial support to Vermonters who needed it. Most of the funding came from the feds, but the Vermont Legislature and the governor deserve a lot of credit for their part in the pandemic response.

Now as more and more Vermonters are vaccinated and the economy has started to stabilize, we’re starting to see divides re-emerge.

Weighing money and education

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 7, 2021 at 2:06 pm | * Comments (1)

Student weighting dominates a lot of discussions around Vermont school funding these days. I guess that’s what we should expect after the release of a report to the Legislature titled: “Study of Pupil Weights in Vermont’s Education Funding Formula.” But the study also raises broader questions about money and education. Read more

Weigh in on state priorities

Posted by Julie Lowell on October 6, 2021 at 3:03 pm | * Comments (1)

During the pandemic, did unemployment benefits, housing supports, or food aid help you make ends meet? Has poor internet made it difficult to learn or work remotely? Over the summer, did Lake Champlain’s closed beaches prevent you from cooling off?

Now is your chance to weigh in on how government can support Vermonters going forward. The legislature is seeking input on how to use the federal American Rescue Plan funds. They have already allocated nearly half of the $1.05 billion on:

  • the recovery of Vermonters, work force development and business supports
  • housing development
  • broadband development
  • climate change mitigation
  • clean water initiatives.

Why is there a worker shortage?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on September 22, 2021 at 10:25 am | * Comments (1)

The Washington Post recently tackled the question a lot of people have been talking about. The headline read: “Why America has 8.4 million unemployed when there are 10 million job openings.”

What was refreshing about the Post story was that it didn’t offer the usual explanation about the mismatch between jobs and job skills, which seems to lay the blame for worker shortages on the workers. Instead, according to the Post, the mismatch is between the jobs on offer and jobs workers want.

Maybe the tide is turning. Maybe the demand for employees is reaching the point where they not only can ask for better pay, but also for meaningful work.

Clemmons Family Farm ED Lydia Clemmons to Receive the 2021 Con Hogan Award

Posted by Paul Cillo on September 16, 2021 at 11:49 am | Comments Off on Clemmons Family Farm ED Lydia Clemmons to Receive the 2021 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 Lydia Clemmons, PhD, MPH will be honored with this year’s award. Dr. Clemmons is President and Executive Director of the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte. Read more

Testimony to Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force, September 9, 2021

Posted by Paul Cillo on September 10, 2021 at 8:38 am | * Comments (1)

Testimony of Paul A. Cillo, President, Public Assets Institute
Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force
September 9, 2021

Good afternoon, Co-Chairs Rep. Copeland Hanzas and Sen. White, and members of the task force.  My name is Paul Cillo. I’m the president of Public Assets Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy think tank here in Montpelier.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Public Assets, we research and analyze Vermont tax, budget, and economic policy from the perspective of everyday residents. We publish all of our work on our website at

By way of background, I’m a lifelong Vermonter originally from Castleton, graduated from UVM, and have lived in Hardwick for the past 40 years. I’ve had a long history of public service in Hardwick as a Selectboard member, chair the Planning Commission and the Special Committee that led to the successful merger of the village and town in 1988, as well as a member of a number of nonprofit boards. I also served in the Vermont House for 10 years, four on the Ways and Means Committee...

Over $10 billion in federal COVID relief

Posted by Julie Lowell on August 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm | Comments Off on Over $10 billion in federal COVID relief

The federal government has allocated over $10 billion to Vermont to minimize the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. This unprecedented amount of aid—an amount equal to 30 percent of Vermont’s 2019 total personal income—has helped Vermonters get through the pandemic.

A third of the support has gone directly to individuals, in the form of unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, tax credits, and other supports; a quarter has gone to businesses, through the Paycheck Protection Program and other grant programs; and the rest has gone to public services helping Vermonters maintain housing, and access healthcare, education, and other social services. Most of the individual and business support is already out the door, with expanded unemployment benefits ending in early September. The public services dollars are a mix of emergency aid and support for longer-term projects to be spent by 2026.