State House Report, January 22nd

Senate Economic Development Committee Considers Minimum Wage Increase

VBSR: Raise the wage, but stagger the increases to allow for small businesses to adapt.

The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee held several days of testimony last week on various proposals to raise the Vermont minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next several years.

VBSR would like to see a minimum wage bill that:

-Moves Vermont to a livable wage faster than current law because they current timeline does not adequately make up for wage gains lost over the last several decades.
-Maximizes the projected economic gains and minimizes the projected job disruptions.
-Recognizes the economic realities facing small businesses in Vermont and the contributions of businesses that pay for employee health care by staggering increases over several years.
-Addresses the benefit cliff so that Vermonters are left financially ahead with wages increases and not behind due to lost benefits or services.
-Would have the support of the Vermont House and Senate and make it to the desk of Gov. Scott for his signature this year.

Read VBSR’s testimony to the Senate committee.

VBSR looks forward to working with the Vermont Legislature to increase the state’s minimum wage in a way that works for employers of all sizes and pay scales and puts more money in the pockets of hard-working Vermonters.

What are your thoughts on raising the wage? Share your thoughts and get in touch!

ACTION ITEM: The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on Increasing the Minimum Wage on January 25, 2018 at the State House in Montpelier from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in room 11.  

Witnesses may start signing up to speak at 5:30 p.m. Witness testimonies are limited to three minutes. The Committee will also accept written testimony. For information about the format of this event or to submit written testimony, contact the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs at (802) 828-3803 or e-mail kdewey@leg.state.vt.us.

Register Today for VBSR’s 2018 Legislative Reception

Come learn about issues affecting your business and community, and learn what VBSR is doing to further a business voice benefiting people, planet and profit.

Held just down the street from the Vermont State House in Montpelier, this event draws nearly 200 of the state’s most exciting business leaders, policy-makers, and state officials. This event is free for VBSR members, legislators, and state officials, and $10 for non-members. If you are paying by credit card, please pay at the event.

Event Details:
When: February 15, 2018 5:00 pm
Location: Montpelier Room, Capitol Plaza, 100 State St., Montpelier

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $10
VBSR Members – Free

VBSR’s 2018 Legislative Reception is sponsored by The Alchemist, Bluehouse Group, Green Mountain Power, National Life Group, Paul Frank + Collins, Rights & Democracy, Washington Electric Cooperative, and WrightJones PLC.

VBSR Talks Health Care Reform with Vermont Legislators

VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow was a guest on Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman’s Lunch Time Town Hall program last week and discussed the economic development opportunity in moving away from the employer health insurance system.

Barlow was joined by Sen. Claire Ayer, the chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and Rep. Selena Colburn, who guest-hosted the program as Lt. Gov. Zuckerman was out of town due to a family illness.

The conversation covered topics such as Universal Primary Care, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and drug addiction.

ACTION ITEM: The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will hold a public hearing on the billon Tuesday, January 23 from 5:30-8 PM at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. Please let VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow know if you are interested in testifying or learning more about the Universal Primary Care proposal.

Public Hearings Scheduled for Employee Retirement Plan

Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce will host two January public hearings to discuss the implementation of the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan, a new, voluntary retirement option for self-employed individuals and employees who work for businesses with 50 employees or fewer that currently do not offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan will be implemented by January 2019.

The Public Hearings will be held on January 22 in Montpelier and January 29 in Rutland. Details can be found on the attached flyer. For more information visit www.greenmountainsecure.vt.gov or email treasurers.office@vermont.gov.

MONTPELIER PUBLIC HEARING (January 22, 2018)
     Who:  Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce, members of the Public Retirement Study Committee, employers and employees, and other stakeholders
     What: Public Hearing on the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan
     Where: The State House (Rm. 11), 115 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont  
     When: January 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm

RUTLAND PUBLIC HEARING (January 29, 2018)
     Who:  Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce, members of the Public Retirement Study Committee, employers and employees, and other stakeholders
     What: Public Hearing on the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan
     Where: Franklin Conference Center, 1 Scale Ave Ste 92, Rutland, VT  
     When: January 29, 2018 at 1:00pm

2018 Legislative Session Updates

Here are some of the headlines from the State House last week:

The Vermont Senate is working with the state’s congressional delegation to advance a proposal allowing Vermont to import less expensive pharmaceuticals from Canada (VtDigger.org)

Gov. Scott announced that he will sign the marijuana legalization bill in private before the deadline. The House and Senate approved the bill earlier this month (VPR)

The Trump tax cuts will actually result in some Vermont families paying more in state and federal taxes, according to state economists (VtDigger.org)

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.

Download VBSR’s 2018 legislative agenda.

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

Other Upcoming Events

January 25
Get-Together hosted by VPR
(Colchester)

February 15
VBSR’s Legislative Reception
(Montpelier)