VOTE: Basic Needs Budget - March 20, 2024

S.246, which amends the Vermont basic needs budget, appeared on the Senate Floor on Wednesday afternoon. Senator Clarkson outlined the members that assisted in a Technical Advisory Committee. They reviewed the Basic Needs Budget and Livable Wage metrics which are assessed by the Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) biennially and presented to the Senate Committees.

These assessments are intended to calculate the “actual costs of living in this state” and are used across the state by HR professionals as well as the Legislature and state agencies.

Assumptions in six areas are approved by the Joint Fiscal Committee, however two others need statutory changes, and these comprise the bill before them. The first assumption is about the “single adults in shared housing” currently assumes these are two adults living in shared housing sharing taxes and other expenses. The second metric that the Legislature sets is a separate official livable wages for urban and rural areas instead of an “averaged livable wage.”

Finally, Clarkson stated that bill reflects their “intention that the methodology be updated every six years or more frequently to ensure that it continues to reflect the actual costs to maintain a basic standard of living in Vermont”.

There was a unanimous voice vote in favor of the bill.

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