Update August 2012
In this issue:
-- Another lesson from Irene
-- Toward rational budget projections
-- A fact transfusion for health care reform
-- Act 60: How's it doing?
-- Welcome aboard
Another lesson from Irene
No question, Vermont's 4.7 percent unemployment rate is better than most states'. But as noted in our July Jobs Brief, if that's all we look at, we miss an important fact: The number of employed Vermonters has been dropping since February. Vermont needs to create jobs even if the private sector can't provide them yet, and rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene may provide that boost. But we shouldn't need a disaster to prod us to make public investments.
Toward rational budget projections
The state has projected budget gaps around this time each year since the start of the recession. Last year it was $75 million; the year before, $186 million. It's logical to think these figures are the difference between the money the state expects to collect in the following year and the amount it needs to meet its current obligations—logical but wrong. Jack Hoffman's op-ed explains why and offers a reason to believe things are headed in a more rational direction.
A fact transfusion for health care reform
The health care system is complex. Its costs have been rising at twice the rate of economic growth, and 50,000 Vermonters are uninsured. Why? How can we fix it? The facts and analysis to guide policymakers toward workable solutions have been missing from the health care reform debate. A good example of what's needed is the Vermont Business Roundtable's 2012 report on the state's largest employers' health insurance coverage and costs.
Act 60: How's it doing?
First-graders who entered Vermont schools in 1997 were the first group to experience the benefits of Act 60, the landmark school funding law passed earlier that year. Those kids are now voting-age adults. What was the impact of the law? The Legislature's study, released earlier this year, says the funding system—the state's longest lived in 50 years—is achieving what it set out to do.
Steven Gold of Montpelier, Larry Mandell of Middlesex, and Gaye Symington of Jericho are the newest members of Public Assets Institute's Board of Directors. The three, who have impressive records of service to Vermont in the private and public sectors, were elected at Public Assets' annual meeting this month.
Public Assets Institute is funded by grants and donations. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work.
Fact: In December 2007, at the start of the recession, Vermont had 6300 more jobs than in June 2012.
Source: Vermont Department of Labor (seasonally adjusted data)
bringing fiscal data home
School Taxes Based on Income, 2012
Vermonters have two options for calculating their school taxes. School taxes can be based on property value or on household income. About two-thirds of Vermonters pay school taxes based on income.
Tax rates vary from town to town depending on how much the community votes to spend, per pupil, on its schools. The income-based rates are the same in districts with the same per-pupil spending.
This town2town map shows the 2012 income-based school tax rates in each town. Check out your town.
Summer Speaking Tour
August 20 - Rutland
August 22 - Essex Junction
September 19 - Woodstock
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