Town Meeting Legislative Update-Part Two

Renter Rebate

We have fought to protect the Renter Rebate Program from attacks since the day we started representing Burlington in the State House. The goals of renter rebate reform are to simplify the process and reduce the error rate of returns (which is currently at 66%). The House is working on a proposal to redefine income for this program, moving away from modified adjusted gross income, and to revise the program so that the landlord certificate is significantly simplified. To calculate rebate, the  Ways and Means Committee proposes to use HUD numbers by county for both income and fair market value of rental properties to provide more consistency and fairness within the program. The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate for consideration.

Homeless Bill of Rights

In the House, our focus is to create a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the select few. A Vermont where our families and communities can thrive and where the Vermont dream is accessible to everyone. The House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee has worked to develop a Homeless Bill of Rights (H.492). The bill would protect people without homes (or perception thereof) against discrimination and includes them in the state’s protected classes. Congruent with Vermont’s constitution stating that Vermonters are “equally free and independent” and that all are entitled to the same benefits and protections, the legislative intent of this bill is that a person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may not be denied or abridged solely because they are without housing.

Addressing our Healthcare Workforce Shortages

Vermont’s healthcare workforce is currently in need of 70 primary care physicians, and this number is only expected to increase: 36% of Vermont’s primary care physicians are currently over age 60.  Vermont is also short nearly 4,000 nurses, which puts significant strains on our remaining workforce and also impacts the quality of care for our patients.

The House is putting forth a variety of plans to address this workforce need, including supporting students through scholarships and loan repayment, and reducing excessive barriers to licensure.  In addition, the House is considering a proposal to put additional funding into training for EMS personnel, a need that is felt by many of Vermont’s

communities. We look forward to supporting educational opportunities for Vermonters while also maintaining a strong healthcare workforce.

Leave Your Comment