Dear Constituents –
My week’s work in the Statehouse was focused on supporting amendments to H.510, a tax credit bill that the House Ways & Means Committee sponsored by a 7-4-0 committee vote along party lines. The majority party’s bill, which touted a tax break for individuals and families with children earning up to $200,000 annually was narrowly focused on this population and excluded many others who need it the most, highlighted in a bill with language proposed by the Scott Administration. That bill, H.527, resides on the wall of House Ways and Means. H.510 ignored approximately 4000 military retirees, 21,000 nurses and childcare workers, and 80,000 Vermonters who struggle making ends meet who would have benefitted from a boost to Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), social security tax exemptions, student loan interest deductions, and childcare and dependent care tax credits, as outlined in H.527. Both the LeClair and Sibilia amendments did not go forward, and H.527 remains on the wall. H.510 passed the House and has moved on to the Senate. The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, sent a letter to the Senate leadership and Finance Committee calling for action on the military pension and survivors benefits tax exemption.
Other action on the House floor was dominated by the passage of Proposal 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, with impassioned debate on both sides. I again thank all of my constituents for your postcards, phone calls, and emails – I heard overwhelmingly to vote no, and I did so knowing that I represented your voices , as well as my own beliefs, unequivocally with my vote. Additionally, I voted in the affirmative to expand employee leave for crime victims (H.477), and against S. 30, an expansion of gun control.
The House General Committee this week held an unprecedented 2-day training by the world-renowned International Center for Transistional Justice on Truth & Reconciliation Commissions and Reparations Task Forces. The leaders of the training are global experts who have worked with South African apartheid, Canadian Indian Schools Reconciliation Canada, Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, and many other high-level crimes against humanity worldwide. Our Committee is taking continued testimony on H.96, a Truth and Reconciliation bill, as well as a number of other bills that can be found on the General, Housing, and Military Affairs webpage pertaining to reparations and reconciliations.
The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus heard from Honorary Commanders, who are community leaders embedded in companies throughout Vermont and who provide a liaison between the National Guard and employers. The REDWnG and Tourism Caucuses continue to discuss the progress of bills such as the Creative Futures Act and the On-Farm Accessory Business Act.
It is with regret that I note that my District-mate, Paul Martin of Franklin, has resigned his seat, and I wish him the best. We are hopeful that his replacement will be appointed in an expedient manner so Franklin-5 has appropriate representation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].
Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire