Editorial, Legislative Report

End of Session Work Includes Property Taxes and More

Share article

WORCESTER – With only a few more weeks remaining in this year’s session, activity is focused on resolving differences between the House and Senate versions of numerous bills, major and minor. And there will be legislation taken up in the House this week dealing with education property taxes.

The House Ways and Means and Education Committees have worked very hard to produce the annual “Yield Bill,” H. 887., which will be voted on by the full House this week. In addition to simply setting the tax rates to raise the amount of revenue needed by school districts throughout the state, the bill also begins to address the serious problems with the funding system that have arisen in the past two years. The Ways & Means Committee is proposing some additional revenue sources that may lesson the demand on property taxes somewhat in the near term.

At the same time, decisions need to be made in the coming years about more fundamental changes to how we fund our schools, but this will take some time. The problems that have arisen are not due to any one reason. The present system was intended to lessen significant inequities affecting property taxpayers in different towns, and to spread that burden more equitably statewide. Because of the unusual and unpredicted [sic] circumstances of the last few years, it hasn’t worked as it was supposed to. And as I’ve written before, an underlying factor is that actual costs of pretty much everything have gone up significantly, for schools as well as business and individuals.

The Environment and Energy Committee has been working on a few bills passed by the Senate.   

S.213, a flood safety bill, deals with numerous measures to lessen flooding impact in vulnerable areas, including better use of wetlands to absorb excess water, and directing new development to the most suitable places. The bill also gives the Department of Environmental Conservation additional authority regarding the safety of the 1000+ dams in Vermont.         

S.305 is the miscellaneous Public Utilities Commission (PUC)  bill that includes housekeeping items  about notice for hearings, makes the definition for energy storage facilities consistent across different statutes and adjusts how the “Energy Efficiency Modernization Act” proceeds. The bill also makes a few minor changes to the Clean Heat Standard regarding  the dates by which certain tasks must happen. Our committee added a number of amendments covering thermal energy networks, Ryegate Power Station operations, the “Energy Savings Account Partnership Pilot Program” and more. 

Our committee has begun taking testimony on S.258, a wildlife bill that committee members have received huge volumes of email on, with very strong opinions opposed to or in favor of the bill. This bill addresses Fish and Wildlife Board governance and bans coyote hunting with dogs. 

Contact [email protected] or leave a message at the Sergeant at Arms office, (802) 828-2228. To track any bills, agendas and written testimony for all House and Senate committees, or to view all House and Senate sessions or committee hearings either live or recorded, visit legislature.vermont.gov/

Rep. Avram Patt represent the Lamoille-Washington District (Morristown, Elmore, Woodbury, Worcester and northern Stowe)

Comments are closed.