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Posts tagged ‘End of Session’

Protecting the Little Guys

October 15, 2015

reptomstevens

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(This opinion piece appeared in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus on October 15, 2015, and will appear in other media in the days ahead.)

Since the legislature adjourned this spring, my friends, neighbors and constituents have asked me what their elected officials did this year to help “the little guy.” In most cases, they are referring to middle and working class Vermonters who are striving to pay their bills, keep their families healthy and safe, and meet the day-to-day demands of jobs, homes, and communities. It’s an important question, and one that’s worth digging into.

Distinguishing the middle class​ ​in Vermont is ​difficult ​because our income groups don’t diverge all that much. Most of us consider ourselves “the little guy” and the facts bear that out. ​In a state of 314,000 income tax payers, ​most of us – about 270,000 ​ – make less than $100,000 a year​. More starkly, ​a​bout​ 200,000 of our Vermont taxpayers make less than ​$​50,000 – that’s 63%. It’s probably useful to point out that Vermont considers a “livable wage” income for an individual to be approximately $33,000. The balance of Vermonters, nearly 320,000 people, don’t file income taxes because they’re someone’s dependent or have income too low to file income taxes.

Using these figures, it’s clear that the great majority of us – nearly 80% ​of Vermonters – ​are​ middle and working class.  A cursory review of employment data indicates that we work as teachers, ​nurses, ​farmers​, mental health professionals, truck drivers, child care providers​, home health ​aides, hotel & restaurant staff, small business employees (and owners!), municipal employees, ​and more. That’s us! Read more

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Here’s Our 2012 End of Session Report!

June 16, 2012

reptomstevens

You can find the text version of our End of Session Report here. Better yet, here’s a PDF version of it! It was quite a year in our district, and we thank you for your support, your kind words and for sharing your fears and worries as we worked toward getting a commitment from the state to return a substantial number of state workers to the State Complex in Waterbury. The session was more than just flood recovery, of course, and our report covers some of the larger issues. Please feel free to read it and share your thoughts about what we did and what remains to be done. If there is an issue important to you that we did not cover, please contact us and we’ll fill you in.