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Public Assets Institute releases State of Working Vermont 2023

New problems demand new resources, and Vermont has the capacity to meet its challenges

Montpelier – Vermont is facing challenges old and new—from housing shortages and a child mental health crisis to more frequent floods and pandemics. The new problems are far more costly to fix than anything we’ve seen before.

The good news: The state has the resources to address its problems and invest in its future. Policymakers need to tap that capacity by changing the way Vermont raises and spends money.

These are the conclusions of State of Working Vermont 2023, released today by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Public Assets Institute. The report analyzes Census and other data, including wages, jobs, and employment, poverty, household income, and wealth inequality to provide a clear picture of how Vermonters are doing and where the state needs to go. 

The report shows progress:

  • Since 2019, wages have risen up by 4% among the lowest-paid workers, even after accounting for inflation.
  • The poverty rate fell to 7.6%, thanks to temporary Covid aid.

It highlights persistent challenges:                                                                         

  • Nearly 50,000 Vermonters were trying to survive below the poverty level.
  • The state’s rate of homelessness was the second highest in the country in 2023.
  • Employers had trouble finding workers. 

Its data make clear that Vermont has untapped capacity for investment:

  • State and local taxes as a percentage of Vermonters’ total incomes have not changed for more than three decades.
  • The share of income going to the top 1 percent has increased steadily, yet taxation remains regressive at the high end.                                   

“The pandemic taught us that government help is good for people and the economy. Vermont learned that lesson and is investing in childcare and tax credits for low- and moderate-income families,” said Stephanie Yu, Public Assets’ executive director. “But new challenges demand new investment. We need to raise revenue adequately and fairly and spend it wisely for the benefit of all the people who live in Vermont.”

An accessible chartbook, State of Working Vermont 2023 can be viewed or downloaded at


Public Assets Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Montpelier that promotes sound state budget, tax, and economic policies that benefit all Vermonters. More information at

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