Commentary: Basic Ethics are Common Sense

Voltaire famously said, “common sense is not so common.” This rings especially true for those who have spent years advocating for not just stronger language, but ANY real Vermont State Code of Ethics. Session after session, Montpelier performs all manner of gymnastics to put off adopting the statutes that will, if nothing else, give Vermonters the faith and confidence that there is some mechanism of accountability for our Government Officials.

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Vermont's Supplemental Budget Adjustment

Vermont’s Supplement Budget Adjustments due to the current pandemic have been in the news recently. But how many Vermonters know what it is and what impact it has on the State’s yearly budget? 

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ILO Director-General makes case for CTE

High-level supporting arguments for investing in skills-based and applied-science training. 
"Guy Ryder, ILO [International Labor Organization] director-general, said if young people’s 'talent and energy is side-lined by a lack of opportunity or skills it will damage all our futures and make it much more difficult to re-build a better, post-COVID economy.'
He argued that 'significant and immediate action' needed to be taken to improve their situation, with the ILO recommending programs guaranteeing employment and training be implemented in both developed, as well as low- and middle-income economies."

Statement: Address our liabilities NOW

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A Failure in Transparency

Mid Session Updates

Here are mid-session updates for the bills we have been following this session. Our "chance of passage" ratings take into account that our Legislature has been undertaking the monumental task of responding to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Legislative schedule for 3/26 - 3/27

Here is the legislative schedule for 3/26 - 3/27. 

Please note, this is not a list of every committee meeting; there are many more happening than what is on this list. These are the ones Campaign for Vermont has identified as being most relevant to our Three E's of Prosperity - Education, Ethics, and Economics.

These schedules are all subject to change with little to no warning. 

Committee meetings are being streamed live on YouTube. Clicking the link next to a meeting listing below will take you the schedule page for that committee. This is where you can find the YouTube link.

The State House is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not mean the public input process is also closed. You can, and should, continue to reach out to your Senators and Representatives on important issues. 


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A note on public records from Pat McDonald

Pat McDonald asks: Why isn't Vermont an open book?

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Town-by-Town Tax Impacts of New Pupil Weighting Formula

Last week, Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) submitted testimony to the Senate Education Committee which included a new analysis on the impacts of the recent Pupil Weighting Study. 

The high-level analysis shows that 77 districts (generally those with the highest poverty rates) would see an average tax rate decrease of $0.18 and 39 districts (generally those with the lowest poverty rates) would see an average increase of $0.16. Under the modeling, the average tax rate would fall slightly from $1.51 to $1.499 while overall revenues would increase $10M.

So, what is pupil weighting? In simplest terms, it is the formula that determines the dollars-per-student contribution from the state to a Vermont public school. It seeks to take into account variables that impact how much it costs to educate a school's students such as population density, poverty rate, and the number of English language learners. The intended outcome is an equitable distribution of state funds that puts money into the communities that need it the most. 

The charts below show the town-by-town tax implications of these changes. Please bear in mind that these numbers are by no means set in stone and are subject to change before any vote takes place. 

If the charts are too small to view, click here to view the complete JFO testimony that contains this data. 

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