We have been busy here at the Campaign! Here is our Spring update on all the activities we are engaged on.Read more
There is still much up in the air going into Town Meeting week. The Senate Natural Resources Committee moved an imperfect Act 250 bill that would narrowly address housing, but also include the road rule provision that will likely draw a veto threat from the Governor. We will likely see that bill combined with efforts ongoing in the Senate Economic Development Committee but the overall picture of what the housing incentive package will look like is murky and it seems likely the Senate will fail to address the "missing middle" for owner occupied workforce housing stock that Governor Scott called for in his budget address.
The Pension "fix" was voted out of the Senate Government Operations Committee on Friday. The bill largely follows the Pension Task Force recommendations which only addresses roughly half of the pension liability the state currently faces.
Ethics legislation also ran into stiff opposition from attorneys and judicial employees this week as they refused a compromise that would hold them to the same definition of conflict of interest as other public employees but they could follow their rules for resolving those conflicts. Instead they requested that their rules of professional conduct would override the state code of ethics.
Finally, there was a jump in the projected education spending increase this week as more school budgets came back. It's still unclear what the actual tax rates will be as there is so much volatility in appraisal values and offsetting state and federal funds.Read more
This week saw positive progress on a number of fronts. After looking like it was unraveling last week, a new draft of S.171 (the ethics bill) on Friday showed positive developments. Workforce and economic development bills are also taking shape and are looking promising.Read more
Friends, earlier this week we issued our first action alert of the legislative session. Both VTDigger and VPR have picked up the story and highlighted the last-minute shredding of the ethics bill that we and others have spent two years working on.
We believe strongly that a Code of Ethics should apply equally to all three branches of state government. As envisioned a few short weeks ago, S.171 would have done that. However, the future of the bill is now uncertain as the legislative and judicial branches seek to exempt themselves or set up their own ethics policies and oversight.Read more
Friends, it was an eventful week. We issued our first action alert of the legislative session (see more below) and the Vermont House passed a tax credit that will put $1200 per child back into the pockets of Vermont families. We also saw a showdown between the Governor and the Senate over the infamous road rule (and other provisions) in Act 250.Read more
Over the past several years, Campaign for Vermont has worked with the legislature and the Ethics Commission to develop a Code of Ethics that would apply to all three branches of Government. As such, S.171 is currently being discussed in Senate Government Operations and is the product of several years of research and debate. But, lately the bill has hit a critical juncture in its development.Read more
Members of the Senate Government Operations Committee,
Thank you for your hard work and perseverance in working through S.171 this session. I know this bill is confusing in how it interrelates with existing rules, policies, and practices across different branches of government. It is not always easy to step back and see the broader picture of how these tie together.
I want to reiterate that Campaign for Vermont supports this legislation because it offers a universal set of expectations for public officials. We believe Vermonters deserve something that can be articulated simply and applied universally.Read more
Friends, this was a key week in the legislature. We are starting to see the separation between what bills will likely make it and others will not. Bills such as Act 250 reform (downtown housing developments) appear to have legs while project-based TIFs are struggling to move forward.
Campaign for Vermont is continuing to engage on ethics reform and we are moving to engage on workforce development as well. So many of these issues are intertwined - technical education, housing, workforce engagement. Vermont employers are struggling to find people to fill open positions. Housing has become the largest inhibitor of workforce growth (and thus economic growth), however because workforce participation is so low there is an opportunity to entice some Vermonters back into the workforce.
We hope you find the information we are providing useful and our advocacy meaningful, you can support our efforts by making a donation here.Read more
Friends, the legislature is in the process of digesting the Governors budget recommendations. The House has already ignored some of them, passing a budget adjustment act that spurned investments in housing and technical education. Other initiatives such as Act 250 reform and economic development grants seem to have support but need to start moving out of Committee in order to make the crossover deadline.Read more