Policy hailstorm strikes Statehouse
Written by Rep. Dave Yacovone
As I was moving through the Statehouse last week from meeting to meeting, I could not get the words of WCAX weatherman Gary Sadowsky out of my head. When there is a big storm, Gary often says, “It’s rain’n in Canaan and pour’n in Warren.”
Well, we had a policy hailstorm raining on us last week in Montpelier.
First came the news that the proposed Trump budget would eliminate the fuel heating assistance program next year, causing roughly 21,000 Vermont households to lose $18 million in financial help to pay their heating bills.
Today, 364 households in Elmore, Morristown, Woodbury and Worcester, the towns in the Lamoille-Washington District, rely on this assistance to heat their homes.
That news was followed by word that the Community Development Block Grant that helps fund village improvements throughout the state will be eliminated. Lamoille County alone has received $7.6 million over the years, including $600,000 to help make affordable housing available in the Arthur’s Building in Morrisville.
On top of that we learned that Community Action, one of the mainstays of the social safety net, would be zeroed out of the budget, as would Vermont Legal Aid. Much of the anticipated funding to help us clean up Lake Champlain would be gone too.
This budget proposal could be the largest transfer in wealth from the poor to the rich in our lifetime as even more tax breaks for the wealthy are proposed.