All the latest news, press releases, and commentary from Heidi E. Scheuermann.

April 21, 2016

With just a few weeks remaining until the 2015-2016 Legislative Biennium concludes, various items are still being developed in both the House and Senate.  Unfortunately, none of the items being considered will put us back on a path of fiscal responsibility and real economic growth.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget that passed the House raises General Fund spending by 4% this year, meaning a Comparable Annual Growth Rate over the last five years of 4.6%.    As most of us clearly understand, this is continues to be well above both the rate of inflation and the underlying economic growth in Vermont.

In fact, the total budget – excluding federal funds and education spending – is $2.45 billion in FY 2017.  This is an over $575 million increase since FY 2011.  And, how do we pay for this spending?  By instituting additional and higher taxes and fees on Vermont families and businesses over the last six years.  The tax and fee increases being proposed this year total $48 million, making a two-year total increase of $96.7 million.

April 7, 2016

I am pleased to report that a bill designed to increase housing opportunities for the Vermont workforce is progressing very well in the House of Representatives.  In fact, it is expected to come up for action this week on the House floor.

The bill, H. 865, does two things.  First, it would put into place pilot projects that would help fund infrastructure improvements in municipalities to support the development of workforce housing.  And, second, it would extend the very successful First Time Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program to ensure it becomes the revolving loan fund that we envisioned when we began the program last year.

March 24, 206

As much of the focus of activities in Montpelier are on the budget and taxes, I am very proud to report that the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, on which I serve, passed out a bill, unanimously, that clarifies the laws governing employers, employees, and independent contractors with regard to workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. 

Along with colleagues from across the political spectrum, I have fought diligently throughout the years, to do something that would ensure the many protections for workers historically in place are maintained, while ensuring that we position our state as a place in which the new, independent and collaborative workforce is encouraged to grow and invest.

The bill that was voted out of our committee, H. 867, does just that.