Legislative Update #13 - Teachers' Appreciation

This week is teachers’ appreciation week and I want to take the time to thank all our educators in the state for everything they do day in and day out. Our schools are very fortunate to have our educators teaching and getting our next generation ready for the world! The Agency of Education came around to get some pictures of legislators thanking our teachers and I was very happy to join. I encourage everyone to reach out to thank a teacher today!

We are finally in the home stretch. What this means is the Vermont State Legislature is trying to adjourn by Friday, May 13th and all the bills are being passed out of committee and being debated on the Floor. Our last agenda item will be to finally pass a budget. We have already had a few late nights getting home well after 9pm, interrupting baseball practices with the kids!

One of the hardest parts of serving in the legislature are the late nights and time away from family. The drive alone takes two hours per day, so when the end of the session comes there is a slight sigh of relief. I do however take a lot of pride in serving St. Albans and I love the work I am able to do while serving my constituents. I am happy to announce I am currently coaching two youth baseball teams for my 5 and 7-year-old boys at night, so the quicker we adjourn the more time I will have coaching and less money the state spends to keep legislators in Montpelier.  

On the House Floor we have spent time presenting and debating bills, voting them out to get over to the Senate. We have seen a lot of different town charter changes, the pupil weighting bill, and we even passed out House Education’s miscellaneous ed bill. Tuesday alone we passed over 15 bills. I was fortunate enough to report a few sections of the miscellaneous ed bill, focusing on sections 5-7 which deal with reports by the Agency of Education on a universal kindergarten age of enrollment, universal school calendar, and standards for remote learning.

The final bill on all minds in the legislature is the budget. The budget is the only must pass bill and once it is passed, we adjourn. I have some serious reservations regarding this budget that is the largest in our state’s history at $8.1 billion. Using one-time Federal funds, we were able to extend services and programs to help a lot of Vermonters. Governor Scott has expressed very openly his concerns with this budget, and I must agree with him on a few of those concerns.

The Governor’s original budget proposal in January included more money to communities around the state, and the budget as passed by the Senate cuts a lot of relief money for seniors, childcare workers, nurses, young Vermonters, and many more. Some of these cuts are to our rural communities needing expanded cell service and to small businesses. I am hopeful that the conference committee with the House and Senate can fix some of these issues. You can follow our work in the House by following my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/caseytoofvt, my Twitter @toofy26, and if anyone needs to reach me, they can always reach me via email at [email protected].

Legislative Update #12

Since my last letter the Vermont State Legislature has seen a whirlwind of activity. We have seen the Senate pass their version of the budget and now it is in a committee of conference with members from both the House and Senate. We cannot adjourn until the budget is agreed upon and voted out by both chambers. Committees have started voting out the last of their bills and significant time has been spent on the Floor to get bills out before the budget is finished.

A few bills that were voted on this week are S.162, S.210, and S.287. S.162, which is an act relating to collective bargaining rights to teachers, passed unanimously by a voice vote. S.210, which is an act relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing, had more opposition. The bill was divided by sections 1-7 that would take out the rental registry piece of the bill. This part of the bill was originally in a different bill last year that Governor Scott vetoed.

The governor had an issue with the $400,000 that would pay to hire inspectors and create a rental registry in the state. This would also cost landlords $35 per unit and could eventually raise rental rates across the state. These new regulations are very unnecessary and could reduce the number of rentals while the state faces a critical shortage of housing. This is very unfortunate since this bill includes $20 million to the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) which helps landlords bring their units up to code and getting more potential units back to the market.

Another big bill that will have major impacts on the funding of our education in Vermont and will affect local tax rates is S.287, which is an act relating to improving student equity by adjusting the school funding formula and providing education quality and funding oversight. This bill took an extensive look at how we weight our students and how we fund our schools, using the very extensive Pupil Weighting Study from 2021. This is a very complex and convoluted formula, but if this bill is passed it would raise property tax rates across Maple Run Unified School District by three cents. I cannot vote for a bill that would raise property taxes on hard working Vermonters.

S.100, the universal school meals bill passed the House this week. There were some good arguments for and against this bill during debate. Proponents of the bill argued that kids focus better when well fed and the program that ran though Covid worked well. Opponents of the bill were worried about setting up a program using one-time surplus funds off the Ed Fund ($29 million). I shared these concerns but felt like this one-year program could help us better understand how a universal breakfast and lunch program could work while we wait for more help from the Federal Government. This also doesn’t include any new taxes or fees.

In House Education we are looking to vote our two more bills before the end of the week: S.139 and S.283. S.139 is the mascot and school branding bill and is expected to see a vote out of committee 7-4. The miscellaneous ed bill (S.283) is a less contentious bill and one I will be presenting pieces on the Floor. I will focus on the sections dealing with a universal school calendar and kindergarten age.

It was a very busy week, but the brightest spot was when the Division I Girls Hockey Champion BFA Comets visited the State House. I had the very distinct pleasure of introducing them to the body and showing them around the building. I appreciate their willingness to come down and be recognized for their very impressive 22-0 season and Division I championship. Anyone can visit our State House at any time. If you’d like to go, or if you’d like to discuss any of these bills, please reach out to me anytime at [email protected].



Legislative Update #11

The end of the session is upon us. We have been gearing up this past week to get all our bills out of House Education. The Senate voted out the budget 28-2 and is now coming back to the House to discuss any changes. The Vermont Legislature meets until a budget is passed, typically in May. From what I am hearing we could adjourn May 6th or May 13th, so please stay tuned!

I want to thank Sen. Corey Parent for being one of the two to vote against the budget proposed by the Senate. Some contentions with the budget in the Senate are that this budget removes some significant funding for substance abuse prevention, cell tower expansion, tax relief for seniors on fixed incomes, military veterans, nurse, and childcare workers and much more that the Governor first proposed back in January. There is still a lot more work to get a final budget that the House and Senate will agree on. If the Governor doesn’t like the final bill, we would likely see a veto session in June.

As I have mentioned in previous updates, we still face a demographic issue in our state. A big concern is the drop in student enrollment of over 21% in the past 18 years. We have more jobs than we have people to fill them. Policies set in Montpelier, including how we spend one-time federal ARPA money, should focus on workforce development and improving our career and technical centers. I stand with Governor Scott on these initiatives.

In House Education we are finishing up and voting out a few bills. Some include: S. 162 - an act relating to the collective bargaining rights of teachers, S. 283 - an act relating to miscellaneous changes to education laws, and S. 139 - an act relating to nondiscriminatory school branding. The first two bills passed 11-0 out of committee, but the mascot bill (S.139) has delt with more roadblocks. To me, the issues are with taking local control away from local school boards and the cost. There are large costs associated with changing a mascot. In Rutland they have changed their logo and it cost their taxpayers around $200,000.

This final stretch of the legislature has a lot of busy time and a lot of down time. We usually say: “hurry up and wait!” The final few weeks could see late nights and a lot of compromise. I appreciate all the work my colleagues do in their committees and the final debates we have on the floor. I enjoy serving the people of St. Albans and look forward to hearing from constituents as we finalize this legislative session. Please reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have at [email protected].


Legislative Update #10 - Demographics

This past week has been spent mostly doing committee work. Our work on the floor has been limited as we approach closer and closer to adjournment. I have heard we are poised to adjourn on May 6th or May 13th. The only caveat is that we pass a budget to adjourn, and we are working toward that conclusion.

Last week we saw Governor Phil Scott’s coffee hour returned in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State House. These are great meetings where we can have good one-on-one conversations with the Governor and his administration. This week we learned some very concerning statistics facing our state in terms of workforce development and challenges with our education system.

The biggest concern with our education system is our state-wide education enrollment. Since 2004 we have seen our enrollment in our K-12 system decline by 21.3%. In 2004 our enrollment was 91,758 compared to only 72,181 students in 2021. Every time we lose students the cost to teach each student rises. We have been fortunate to see population growth in Franklin County, but across the state we have seen major declines. This has larger effects on not only our budget, but our workforce.

Our workforce faces a ton of challenges. One is that our population continues to get older and closer to retirement age. The population of Vermonters aged 65+ increased by 43,362 (55.9%) between 2000 and 2020. The population of Vermonters aged 20-34 has increased by only 7,478 (6.7%) since 2000. In 2020, Vermonters aged 55+ made up 34.7% of the state population versus 22.1% in 2000. Declining population trends make it harder for businesses to find employees and the possibilities of new businesses looking to flood our community.

In House Education we have begun to look at our miscellaneous ed bill which will look at a universal school calendar, PCB testing in schools, and other issues. Typically, the miscellaneous ed bills do not contain too many controversial issues and is a good bill for the entire committee to present on the House Floor. We have also taken up our school mascot bill and will probably be voting it out this week.

Governor Phil Scott has signed the new apportionment map into law last week. In this bill there is officially the change in our legislative districts. The new Franklin-8 district will consist of wards 4 and 5 of St. Albans City and include the southern portion of St. Albans Town. This is a bittersweet moment for me as I appreciate working on a bipartisan effort to work for the people of Franklin 3-1. I am sad to lose half of the current legislative district. I grew up in St. Albans City on Savage Street where my parents still live. I spent my high school mowing Taylor Park and cleaning City Hall. Although it does sadden me to lose constituents, I look forward to the next ten years and these new legislative districts.

We have a little over a month to finish our work for this session. Again, it has been a sincere pleasure serving the people of St. Albans in the Vermont House of Representatives. I look forward to hearing from everyone at [email protected].

Legislative Update #9 - Meals

It has been a busy week in the House, and we are back spending most of our time in our committee rooms on Senate bills. I was also fortunate to spend some time with the House Committee on Commerce touring Downtown St. Albans, the old Energizer plant, and a nice tour of Northwest Career and Technical Center.

Our tour began at The Traveled Cup for coffee where we met with the mayor and the City Manager. They showed us the benefits of our TIF district projects and the progress the City has made in our downtown. We looked at our Federal Street projects and newest developments. Our House Commerce members were wondering how the rest of the state could follow the City of St. Albans’ lead on revitalizing our downtowns.

The Energizer plant has some great working space that could host several businesses that would help our entire community including the recent news that Beta Technologies is interested in expanding their operations. Both St. Albans City and St. Albans Town are in a great position over the next few decades for potential growth and economic prosperity.

The main visit was our trip to the Northwest Career and Technical Center where we met a host of great teachers, staff, and students who showed us the great things the tech center offer. Legislators in the State House understand the need to expand and focus on career technical centers across the state and that is why we have included a lot of state and federal funds to expand workforce development and education through these centers. I was really impressed by what the programs offered, the teachers I spoke with, and the opportunities our students have.

In House Education we have spent some time working on some Senate bills including S.287 which will deal with student weights and tax rates across the state as well as S.283 our annual miscellaneous Education bill. The bill we have spent the most time on is S.100 – universal school meals.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Federal government has provided universal school lunch and breakfast to every student regardless of their parent’s income. Typically, the Federal government does provide grants to give free or reduced lunch to students who have a family household income that are well below the poverty line. This new program would extend free lunch and breakfast to every student in Vermont schools.

My first hesitation with this bill was the cost and how we would fund this. As I have noted before the total cost of this program could cost between $24 and $50 million a year. The funding sources would be an expansion on the sales tax on candy, an enactment of an excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages, and a tax on cloud-based software. I could not consider raising any new taxes at a time where our state is spending $8.1 billion in our budget – the largest budget in our state’s history.

After long debate and compromise we have worked out a bill that would make this a one-year program allowing schools to provide free lunch and breakfast to all students for one more year, repealing this on July 1, 2023. This gives us time to see how many students would participate and wouldn’t add any new taxes this year. This is still being worked on and would need a stop in Ways & Means and still has a long path to passing, so please stay tuned.

Again, I am very happy with all the feedback I have heard over this session, and I will continue to urge everyone to please reach out any time at [email protected] with any questions, comments, or concerns. This has truly been quite an honor serving the people of St. Albans and I look forward to hearing from everyone.

Legislative Update #8 - Budget and Meals

Crossover is finally over which led to the House of Representatives meeting late into the night most of last week. I believe there was only one day I was home before 8pm! We had many important money bills to get out and sent over to the Senate for their review. A few of the bills were the Capital Bill, the Transportation Bill, and the Budget Bill.

The nearly $8.1 billion budget is the state’s largest budget in its history. The budget focuses on climate change policies, clean water, broadband, and made significant investments with the Vermont State Colleges, while spending the last of the Covid relief money from the Federal Government. House Bill H.740 did a pretty good job working within the Governor’s proposed budget but left out over $100 million in funds that were proposed. I did express my feelings with the body: “Madame Speaker, I appreciate the hard work done by the House Committee on Appropriations. Although I ultimately voted in favor of H.740, I was disappointed to see that the budget cuts $100 million of proposed economic recovery spending. Businesses across the state are struggling and these funds could be crucial in helping them recover.”

In House Education we have begun looking at a few contentious bills. The mascot bill has been one I have spoken about before. S.139 is an act relating to nondiscriminatory school branding. We are also looking into S.219 which is an act relating to ensuring compliance with the U.S. and Vermont Constitutions in the use of public funds for tuition. The bill we have spent the most time on this week is Senate Bill S.100 which is an act relating to universal school meals.

S.100 would provide every school child free breakfast and lunch, expanding on the Federal program set up during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am in full support of this bill and believe it would be a great service for the State of Vermont to provide every child free breakfast and lunch regardless of their parent’s income. My issue with the bill is how we are looking to fund it.

The overall cost for this new program would cost the state between $30 and $50 million annually. The proposed way to fund this would be a new “cloud” tax that would extend the sales tax to all cloud-based software. This new tax would generate close to $13 million. This bill could potentially hurt small businesses and restaurants. These are businesses that were shut down during the pandemic and are continuing to struggle to get their businesses back up and running. The next tax would be an excise tax on sugary beverages, adding one cent per ounce of a sugary beverage. This would raise over $17 million. The final way would be to extend a sales tax on candy. The revenue from this tax would be around $3 million.

Other ways of supporting this would be to take the money off the top of the Ed Fund. This would mean we would just take the proposed $30-$50 million out of the Ed Fund which is a comprised of funds from the sales & use tax, meals & rooms tax, the Vermont State Lottery, and through property taxes. Whatever funds are not raised through the sales & use, meals & rooms and lottery are raised from property taxes. I am afraid this bill could raise property taxes on Vermonters at a time we are spending $8.1 billion in our budget and when we have a $95 million surplus in our Education Fund.

We still have a lot of time to discuss this bill over the next two months before we finally adjourn for the session. I am hoping to find a good compromise on this universal meals bill to ensure children can go to school without being hungry and they can focus their time on their education instead of an empty stomach. I am also hopeful we don’t pass legislation that would raise taxes on the people of St. Albans when we have the largest budget in Vermont’s history.

I thank you all for reaching out and following along while allowing me to serve you in the Vermont House of Representatives. I am always available via email at [email protected]. I appreciate your time.


Legislative Update #7 - Post Crossover

Legislative crossover is referred to the week after the Vermont House returns from the break from Town Meeting. All bills must pass out of their committee of jurisdiction for that bill to make it to the Senate from the House and to the House from the Senate. This means that a lot of bills are debated on the House Floor and calls for long Floor sessions. This year seemed longer than previous years.

Major bills were voted out of their committees of jurisdiction which included rewrites of Chapter 11 of Act 46, the Clean Heat Standard, and legislative reapportionment. On Monday and Tuesday of the week we took up over 28 bills for consideration. House Education heard testimony on new Senate bills that will take up the rest of our time here this session.

Legislative reapportionment is a process redrawing legislative districts and a bill that I have spoken about previously at length. The House Committee on Government Operations were tasked at taking the state’s population of 643,077 residents and equally dividing that into 150 house seats which equates to around 4,287 people per house seat. This bill passed by a vote of 129-13 and is expected to be unchanged by the Senate.

St. Albans City and St. Albans Town deserve around 3.19 House members together based on population, but rounded equally we will continue to have three state representative districts. The major change this year is that the Franklin 3-1 district currently represented by me and Rep. McCarthy will split from a two-member district into two single-member districts. The new City/Town district will be named Franklin-8 and will encompass City wards 5 & 6 as well as the southern portion of St. Albans Town, but also including the neighborhood of Hill Farm Estates.

In House Education we took up two Senate bills that could have impacts back in St. Albans. S.100 is an act relating to universal school meals. This would implement a statewide meal plan to feed every student breakfast and lunch. The questions become: what will this cost and how will we pay for it? We have already heard preliminary reports that this could cost over $36 million, so please stay tuned as we take further testimony on this bill.

Senate bill S.139, an act relating to public schools’ team mascots, came before our committee and could possibly force school boards to replace their mascots if the state deemed them offensive. This would have a dramatic effect on Bellows Free Academy as the bill could prohibit mascots that are named after people. The Bobwhites and Comets are both named after people and could potentially be forced to change under this bill if the state felt it necessary. The cost of changing a mascot could cost upwards of $500,000 to replace logos, jerseys, scoreboards, and many other items. This bill was only discussed once last week, and we will revisit in the coming weeks.

After a week of long floor debates and late nights we have finished our crossover work. We still have a lot of work to be done before we finish up our state budget and adjourn at some point in May. I appreciate everyone following along and reaching out with a lot of questions, comments, and concerns. I can continue to be reached at [email protected].

Town Meeting Day Report 2022

Dear Friends,

As always, it is my honor to represent you in the Vermont House of Representatives. This session continues to be unique as we try to get back to normal while meeting in a hybrid model. While far from ideal, we are still working hard dealing with the usual issues, namely the budget and policy matters that affect Vermonters every day.

The Governor presented his $7.6 billion budget proposal. We are very fortunate in that our state received large amounts of Covid relief monies and ARPA funds compared to our population. Key budget items are as follows: fully funding the state retirement and debt service obligations and maintains, or exceeds, statutory reserve requirements; provides over $48 million in tax relief to low and moderate income families, critical occupations, military retirees and students; makes major investments in workforce training and expansion through education, internships, and outreach; expands early care and learning subsidies for families and launches new initiatives to help those suffering from mental illness and addiction; and upgrades or replaces legacy software and equipment to deliver better, more timely information and services.  All of this will be accomplished without any new taxes or fees. The proposed budget heads to our House Appropriations Committee and will probably see several adjustments.

I serve on the House Committee on Education where we deal with Education policy. We have worked mostly on bills that fix language from previous legislation. We have also looked at budget proposals that would affect the Education Fund and the Vermont State College system as they change to Vermont State University. Schools have asked for no significant legislation that would affect our already struggling schools during the pandemic.

Every ten years the Vermont State Constitution requires the legislature to redraw legislative districts to align with the population of the state based on the US Census. It looks as though the current Franklin 3-1 district will look a little different for the next ten years. Franklin 3-1, the district I currently represent, will become a single member district composing of St. Albans City Wards 1-4 while Franklin 3-3 will also become a single member district composing of St. Albans City Wards 5 & 6 along with the section of St. Albans Town I currently represent with Hill Farm Estates. Please look for updated maps in the next coming months.

It has really been a sincere pleasure representing you in the Vermont House of Representatives over the last four years. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I am always here to listen. Feel free to contact me:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (802) 309-3522

Facebook: facebook.com/caseytoofvt

Twitter: @toofy26

Thank you for your continued support.


Representative Casey J. Toof

Franklin 3-1 St. Albans City & Town

Legislative Update #6

We are closing in on the halfway point of the legislative session as we get closer to Town Meeting Day (TMD). The week of Town Meeting marks the halfway point for the legislature, and it is the week we get off from our legislative duties to go home to our districts and work more with constituents. Typically, you’ll see me sitting at the Complex or City Hall on TMD, greeting people as they come into to vote while handing out my Legislative Report – so please make sure you vote and stop by and say hello.
As we get closer to TMD our community watches closely at important issues facing St. Albans. These issues include the school budget for Maple Run, both the Town and City budgets, Selectboard races, City Council races, and the race for school board. These are important times and important votes on our ballots. I want to echo what other local leaders have said as we make a call for civility in our elections. I have been fortunate enough to run several times against great people, and every campaign was civil and courteous where each candidate and our supporters stuck to the issues.

H.556 - Abenaki Lands

On the House Floor we spent some time on passing bills as we close in on our TMD deadline to crossover all bills from the House to the Senate, and the bills from the Senate to the House. House bill H.556 is a bill that was passed this week that is an act exempting property owned by Vermont-recognized Native American tribes from property tax. This would affect four sites around Vermont, including one in Franklin County in Swanton. According to our Joint Fiscal Office, this would only cost our Education Fund around $9000. The Vermont Education Fund has a surplus, so this bill is inconsequential on our budget, but beneficial to our Abenaki tribes.

House Education

The Education Fund continues to see more surplus in the tune of over $100 million. The question is what to do with all this money? As I have written earlier this year, the Governor has proposed to give half of that surplus money back to the property taxpayer. The other half would be used to improve our career and technical centers who were hurt during the pandemic since they were not eligible for Federal Funds. I have introduced House bill H.483, which is an act relating to potential new models of funding and governance structures to improve the quality, duration, and access to career technical education in Vermont. This bill was voted out of committee this week.


Redistricting is starting to take shape as districts all over the state are beginning to finalize their new districts. Every ten years we are bound by the State Constitution to redistrict based on population from the United States Census. St. Albans will look a little different if the final map that was given a preliminary “thumbs up” by the House Committee on Government Operations is fully approved. All of this is dependent on a redistricting of the City of St. Albans Wards that haven’t been changed since 1968. An example would be that Ward 4 has around 900 people while Ward 5 has around 1300 people. The new draft map will ensure equal representation of all Wards of around 1100 people per Ward. Look for those maps on Town Meeting Day at City Hall.
I want to thank my seatmate Representative Mike McCarthy for his work on building the new maps in the City. The new City districts will then play a role in our redistricting in St. Albans legislative districts. Currently, Rep. McCarthy and I represent Franklin 3-1 which is the City of St. Albans and the southern portion of St. Albans Town (everything between Route 7 and Interstate 89). The new boundaries will split the district into two single-member districts. Franklin 3-1 will be St. Albans City’s Wards 1-4 and the new Franklin 3-3 district which will be City Wards 5 & 6 along with the same portion of the Town and would include Hill Farm Estates. This will give equal representation of the City and the Town as there will be one City district (3-1), one Town district (3-2), and one City & Town mixed district (3-3). Both the City and Town Boards of Civil Authority approved these single member districts.


Thank You! 

I appreciate everyone reaching out and keeping in touch with me during this legislative session. We have great opportunities around the state with a lot of Federal Funds and Ed Fund surplus. The Governor’s proposed budget will be around $7.7 billion, and it is my hope to help the greatest number of Vermonters as we can. Redistricting should be finished up hopefully by April so we will know what our legislative districts will look like. I urge anyone to reach out to me for any reason at [email protected] or by clicking any of the links below. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of St. Albans in the Vermont State house. 


Rep. Casey Toof

House Bill H.510

If there is one thing I have heard while talking with my neighbors over the last four years as your State Representative is that we are overtaxed. It seems like every conversation is ‘what are you doing down there to help us out?’ I decided to run to help make Vermont more affordable, more attractive to those trying to take up roots here, and continue to make St. Albans a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
There have been many bills introduced, worked on, amended, and passed since I was sworn in January of 2019. You would also be surprised to find out that a majority of bills passed by the Legislature passes with a large majority of support from all members. I have voted for every budget at the end of each legislative session – the one bill that is required to pass before we are allowed to adjourn. That brings us to H.510.

If there is one thing I have heard while talking with my neighbors over the last four years as your State Representative is that we are overtaxed. It seems like every conversation is ‘what are you doing down there to help us out?’ I decided to run to help make Vermont more affordable, more attractive to those trying to take up roots here, and continue to make St. Albans a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
There have been many bills introduced, worked on, amended, and passed since I was sworn in January of 2019. You would also be surprised to find out that a majority of bills passed by the Legislature passes with a large majority of support from all members. I have voted for every budget at the end of each legislative session – the one bill that is required to pass before we are allowed to adjourn. That brings us to H.510.
House Bill H.510 was presented in the House this week and passed mostly along party lines. The bill is an act relating to creating a child tax credit and was passed out of committee 8-3. In its simplest terms the bill gives a $1200 yearly tax credit for families for each child aged six or younger, and who make less than $200,000 a year (costing the state a total of around $49 million). This bill seems like a win and could help recruit people to Vermont as family friendly and retain Vermonters who have young children, but it still brought up some big questions for me.
Why stop at age six and how do we handle the cliff when a child turns seven and all benefit is lost? What will keep families here after that? If we are going to spend this much money on kids, with a loose connection to the fact that childcare is expensive, it would be better if at least some of it was transformational to fix the childcare system. None of this money that the families will receive are mandated to be used for childcare expenses. This $49 million we are investing will do nothing to fix the childcare system.

The Governor, and others, have recommended additional tax relief initiatives that also help young families, as well as older Vermonters, military retirees, Vermonters with student loan debt, low-income Vermonters, nurses, and childcare workers. I think we have an opportunity this year to pass a robust and targeted tax relief package, to help all sorts of Vermonters, not only those with children under age 6 or receiving social security.
Only around 36,000 Vermonters would be affected by this bill while the Governor’s proposal would help over 105,000 people. I look forward to helping as many Vermonters as we can by the end of this session. There is a long road to go on our budget, and I wish we could have sent this bill to House Appropriations for them to look at and consider all options in front of us.

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