State House Report April, 9th

VBSR Asks VT Senate Leaders to Fund Climate Change Studies

VBSR sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee last week requesting that legislators maintain funding for an important economic analysis of decarbonization policies in Vermont.

Read the testimony to the Senate Committee.

Climate change is a complex problem and the Vermont Legislature needs good data to make the appropriate decisions to save our environment and our economy. That’s why VBSR believes funding an independent, non-partisan analysis of decarbonization proposals, including The ESSEX Plan, is essential. This study is an investment in building a stronger Vermont economy, boosted by moving off of imported fossil fuels and embracing the benefits of local clean energy.

VBSR asks the Vermont Senate to retain funding for decarbonization studies as outlined in Section C.110 of the budget. These are proposals that are recommended and supported by the Governor’s Climate Action Commission, the Mayors Coalition, the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Climate Economy Action Team, and the Climate Solutions Caucus.

Read the ESSEX Plan, a proposal to lower Vermont’s green electricity rates through carbon pricing.

House General Committee Holds Hearings on Minimum Wage Bill

S.40, the bill raising Vermont’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2024, is under consideration in the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee. VBSR testified in support of the bill last week, telling lawmakers that the proposal would give a much needed pay raise to Vermont’s lowest-earning workers on a timeline that is appropriate for small businesses.

Read VBSR’s testimony on the balance between increasing the minimum wage and supporting small businesses.

VBSR also reiterated to legislators that out of control health care costs continue to be a burden on employers who pay for employee health care premiums. The dysfunctional employer health care system suppresses wage increases while out of pocket costs health care costs eat away at employee take-home pay.

House Natural Resources Committee Considers Clean Water Bill

“The time to identify a more permanent and sustainable funding source is now. While I
appreciate that additional research and refinement is always in order, we should not allow a continuing search for the perfect solution to take the place of good concrete action based on known data.”
– State Treasurer Beth Pearce

House lawmakers are considering the best approach for clean water financing this year and efforts to pass a long-term, sustainable financing plan got a boost last week from State Treasurer Beth Pearce.

Pearce, whose office led a review and issued a report on clean water financing last year, told the House Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife Committee, that further studies on this issue are essentially unnecessary and that the Legislature needs to act this year before the costs of clean-up and remediation continue to grow.

“As I’ve said in the past, a plan for water cleanup can’t be a ‘catch as catch can’ approach,” Pearce told the committee. “You can’t say, ‘well this year, we’ll try this, next year we’ll try this, and maybe we’ll have some money next year.’ It doesn’t work that way. In order to have a 20-year plan, you’ve got to have a
20-year plan! And you’ve got to put dollars into that that plan on an ongoing basis.”

Read Treasurer Pearce’s testimony.

VBSR believes it is vital that the Vermont Legislature pass legislation this year identifying a sustainable and long-term funding solution to begin financing clean water projects in impaired waters across the state – before the problem gets worse and the solutions more expensive. S.260, the bill under consideration in the House, is a step forward, but continues to rely on further studies of financing options as opposed to committing to a path.

Paid Family Leave Public Hearing at State House Tuesday Night

The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on H.196, an act relating to paid family leave, this Tuesday night from 5-7 PM at the Vermont State House in Montpelier.

Witnesses may signup to speak starting at 4:30 p.m. in the hallway outside Room 11.  Time is limited to three minutes per person. The Committee will also accept written testimony before the hearing, which may be submitted to Kayla Dewey at or mailed to the State House. If you plan to attend and require accommodations, please notify Kayla Dewey as early as possible so that arrangements may be made.

If you have any other questions, contact Kayla Dewey at, by calling 802-828-3890, or by submitting a letter by mail.

Interested in VBSR Policy? Get involved today.

The voice of socially responsible businesses in public policy debates is now more important than ever.

Part of VBSR’s mission is to support socially responsible businesses and help them succeed. One way we can do that is energize the voice of SR businesses in Vermont and bring that perspective to policy debates at the Vermont State House.

Contact VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow for more details on how to get involved with VBSR policy.