Lawmakers say the administration failed to inform them back in June that the new benefit might not get federal approval. Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington defends his department’s actions.
The Legislature sent Gov. Phil Scott a bill last week that would tax Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven in 2021, but lawmakers say they still plan to revisit the issue later in the session.
The contentious legislation has drawn pushback from business groups objecting to higher unemployment benefits they’d eventually have to pay for, and support from workers urging bigger payouts to laid-off Vermonters.
The Senate had to adjourn because an ill-timed power outage in Montpelier blocked an impending vote on an amendment to the controversial S.10 legislation.
The Senate twice skipped over planned votes on S.10 last week, after business leaders cried foul over proposed benefit increases. On Thursday, the upper chamber once again postponed taking up the bill as negotiations dragged on.
The pandemic has opened up the Vermont Legislature’s work to the public. Now, the Senate is considering whether to continue streaming committee meetings next year.
Several business associations called on the Vermont Senate on Wednesday to reconsider proposed increases in state unemployment benefits.
If companies get a break, labor unions say workers should also get a boost in benefits.
Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said 80,000 to 90,000 people had received 1099s so far. About 55,000 of them received others’ information or had their own private information compromised.
Federal money is key to expanding state programs on weatherization, housing and diversity in opportunity.
This might be the right time for Vermont to borrow more money to build housing, says Sen. Michael Sirotkin. “Interest rates are ridiculously low, and the first housing bond was a home run. We have the funds available to pay the debt service.”
Problems have only worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, and lawmakers and the Scott administration are beginning to discuss new steps on affordable housing and homelessness.
A group of lawmakers rebuked Walmart, with six stores in Vermont, for not having applied.
In Tuesday’s primaries, the verdict on the power of money and television advertising turned out to be mixed.