(Host) Vermont’s four-member Progressive delegation says that the recent Legislative session was not very productive for working people throughout the state.
The group is concerned that changes to the Medicaid program could result in higher costs for many of the program’s recipients. The Progressives also say they were very disappointed that lawmakers failed to tie future increases in the state minimum wage to the inflation rate.
Brattleboro Representative Sarah Edwards says the biggest disappointment for her was a decision by lawmakers to increase the sales tax from five percent to six percent, to help reduce property tax burdens:
(Edwards) “We as Progressives recognize that equity has been preserved, which is the main point of the education bill. But in terms of the way we’ve chosen to fund it, I don’t think it could have been worse. We’ve taken some of the pressure off the property tax but we put the pressure on low and working class Vermonters and middle income Vermonters by introducing a sales tax.”
(Host) Burlington Representative David Zuckerman was very critical of both House and Senate leaders for not seriously considering an instant runoff voting plan:
(Zuckerman) “Many, many Vermonters want to be able to vote for the person they want to be in office and I think that Vermonters will continue to see our electoral system as broken when they have to choose the lesser of their first choice based on the political process.”
(Host) The Progressives say they hope to make affordable access to health care their top priority of next year’s session.