Vermont committee favorably passes basic needs budget bill

By Brent Addleman | The Center Square

A bill focused on basic family needs in Vermont was favorably voted out of committee Monday afternoon.

The House Committee on Appropriations discussed House Bill 157, which studies the basic needs budget for families – and not the state – and was the focus of discussion with Damian Leonard, who serves as legislative counsel for the Office of Legislative Counsel.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Tiffany Bleumle, D-Chittenden, and Rep. Thomas Stevens, D-Washington-Chittenden, calls for the creation of a technical advisory committee that would be charged with updating the methodology the state uses in determining how much money families need to earn to live in the state.

“The basic needs budget is often used when we’re looking at wage information for the labor markets to get an understanding of what individuals make and how that compares to what their needs are,” Leonard told the committee. “It also helps with public assistance programs, so you are understanding the costs a household faces.”

The bill, if enacted, would take effect July 1 with the first report due in November. The panel would be comprised of four legislative members and four nonlegislative members, along with the secretary of Human Services; a member appointed by the Sustainable Jobs Fund; a member appointed by the Society for Human Resources Management; Fremont Council; and a member appointed by Capstone Community Action.

The report, according to Leonard, would provide findings and recommendations for revising the methodology in determining the budget for a single person; a single person living in shared housing; a single parent with one child; a single parent with two children; two wage-earning adults with no children; two adults with one wage earner with two children; and two wage-earning adults with two children.

Under the bill, if enacted, a $7,000 appropriation would be made by the General Assembly in fiscal years 2024 and 2025 for per diem costs and reimbursement for members of the committee. Plus, a $10,000 appropriation would be made to the Joint Fiscal Office from the general fund over the same two years for retaining experts and other services that would be provided to the office.

Leonard said the basic needs budget is 12 years old, and the committee would be scheduled to have its first meeting on or before Aug. 15.

It’s been 12 years I think since the last one and then before that, it was about 10 years,” Leonard said. “The Joint Fiscal Committee has the authority to make minor [changes]. They have the authority to make changes to the methodology. So, periodically, there are little tweaks to the methodology. But this is sort of like a wholesale reevaluation and update.”

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “Vermont committee favorably passes basic needs budget bill

  1. Clearly, the Vermont Legislature cannot legislate, nor can the Governor govern. Vermont is governed and managed by committees, boards, task forces, supervisory unions, and commissions. Voters do not vote for any of the members or appointees. They are crony donors, crony supporters and tow-the-line, feed the narrative, crony bureaucrats. Vermont is a cesspool of corruption and a grifter’s paradise. Vermont is a failed State.

  2. Since a simple dogpile search shows VT is 39th on the list of cheapest states you can safely say it’s to expensive and a committee that’s really needed is one to find how they can lower the cost of living here. You elect half Azz legislators you get the same in their performance.

  3. no committee needed to tell them how much it costs to live here!! adjust ask anyone one the street how they get by living in Vermont and I am sure they would tell you!! No money Needed!

    Simple! No need to complicate it!!

  4. I don’t see average working Vermont citizens or a Governor’s appointee on this committee. Once agenda just people bent on producing a certain outcome to the study?

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