Equifax settlement, weatherization, water quality, working lands and mental health

Good evening,

I hope you all had time to enjoy some of this weekend’s beautiful weather. A few updates relevant to tax issues, the Equifax data breach and a settlement for Vermonters whose information was stolen, a new home weatherization incentive program for moderate income households and two opportunities to provide some direct feedback to critical programs in Vermont.

The first is on next years spending by the Clean Water Board, made up of a number of Agency Heads and private sector Vermonters. We are looking at approximately 50 million dollars in funding next year, and the board has put out a short priority survey for Vermonters to fill out to ensure the plan is in line with citizens priorities.

The second is an opportunity to attend a regional forum on the 10 year mental health care system vision.

While voters elect representatives to act on their behalf during the legislative (lawmaking) session – these public forum and survey opportunities are tremendously important for program development and often receive too little participation. I hope you will consider taking a moment to provide feedback on one or both of these areas of significant public interest and investment.

Tax revenues finish year nearly $60 million above targetsVermont Business Magazine

The Emergency Board will meet on Monday, July 29, 2019 to receive the consensus revenue forecasts for Fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from the State and Legislative economists.

Monthly Revenue Statement – Education Fund
Monthly Revenue Statement – General Fund
Monthly Revenue Statement – Transportation Fund

“The revenue growth above our expectations for FY19 is encouraging. We must build on the progress made in growing our economy. Critical to sustaining that growth is a continued focus on making Vermont more affordable for families and businesses, revitalization of our economic centers throughout the State, and meeting our demographic challenge by attracting more people to Vermont.”

Secretary of Administration Susan Young

EQUIFAX Data Breach Settlement

A coalition of 50 attorneys general have reached a settlement with Equifax as the result of an investigation into the largest-ever breach of consumer data. The investigation found that Equifax’s failure to maintain a reasonable security system enabled hackers to penetrate its systems, exposing the data of 56 percent of American adults, including more than 250,000 Vermonters in 2017. The attorneys general, in concert with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, secured a settlement with Equifax that includes a Consumer Restitution Fund of up to $425 million, a $175 million payment to the states, and numerous required actions Equifax must take to better protect consumer data. The State of Vermont will receive $1.85 million. Follow this link to learn more about what to do if you were affected, Vermonters with questions or concerns about identity theft may also call the Vermont Consumer Assistance Program at 800-649-2424 or visit ➡️ the website


The Northeast Kingdom has just released a preliminary organizational plan for building fiber to 100% of addresses by 2025. It’s 5 pages – an easy and enjoyable to read. We can also do this Southern Vermont! A regional meeting with the new staff at the Department of Public Service is being organized for Windham County in September. If you would like to be notified of the public forum, send an email with your contact information to SeVTBroadband@gmail.com.

Auditor: State Not Pursuing Most Cost-Effective Ways To Cut Lake Champlain Pollution
Checking In On Vermont’s Clean Water Efforts As Summer Breeds Algae Blooms

Public input sought on Clean Water Board’s
upcoming budget recommendation

Clean water funding (expected to be between 30-50 million in 2021) is intended to support municipalities, farmers, and others implementing priority projects to improve water quality in Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and wetlands. There are four priority areas for clean water projects: stormwater runoff from developed lands including parking lots and roads, agricultural conservation practices, natural resources restoration, and wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The easiest way to provide feedback is via the Board’s 8-question online questionnaire, (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CWFSFY21. Vermont’s Clean Water Board is accepting comments on it’s upcoming budget through September 6, 2019.

Vermonters are also invited to participate in the Clean Water Budget Public Hearing on August 22, 2019. Attendees will learn more about clean water funding as well as the budget process, and provide comments on the Board’s draft State’s Fiscal Year 2021 clean water budget(link is external). The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 22nd at 10:00 am, in the Winooski Room, National Life Building, Montpelier and online (via Skype). To attend in person, please RSVP by email


New Efficiency Vermont incentives allows households to qualify for up to half of the cost of a weatherization project back in a rebate, as much as $4,000, if you qualify as moderate income. Efficiency Vermont is also offering 0% interest energy financing to moderate-income families through the Heat Saver Loan. Combined with the new incentive, it’s possible to complete a full home weatherization project for around $60 per month.

Who qualifies for new moderate-income incentives?

About 60% of Vermont households qualify

2019 Working Lands Grant Opportunities

FY20 Service Provider Grants

  • Request for Applications Release: September 3, 2019, at 12:00 PM/noon
  • Estimated Project Start Date: March 2020

FY20 Business Grants

  • Request for Applications Release: October 1, 2019 at 12:00 PM/noon
  • Estimated Project Start Date: April 2020

News

New law bolsters housing protections for domestic violence victims
A post session interview with Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint


Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us. You can also sign up to receive my e-newsletters on my blogsite at www.laurasibiliavt.com
Kind regards, 

Rep. Laura Sibilia 

Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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One thought on “Equifax settlement, weatherization, water quality, working lands and mental health

  1. Jeremy Schrauf

    Dear Laura, I really respect and appreciate the Legislative work you are doing and thanks for all these updates.

    One thing I did ask you about I have not received any response after the session ended. With virtually no change in my income or in the substantial amounts I donate to nonprofits (mostly in Vermont) from 2017 to 2018, why did I have most of my donations cut off as deductions on my 2018 VT income tax? Seems to me the 46% increase in my State Income Tax I had to pay for 2018 is way beyond simply adjusting the State tax to the new Federal tax or even increasing for my level of income. I did copy Becca Balint as you suggested and have heard nothing back from her either. I saw no indication at the time the legislation was working in 2017 that would have suggested that sort of an increase for anyone. I didn’t expect a quick fix for 2019, but I did expect that one or both of you would look into it.

    Thanks, Jeremy Schrauf, West Wardsboro

    On Sun, Jul 28, 2019 at 7:46 PM Vermont State Representative Laura Sibilia wrote:

    > laurasibiliavt posted: ” Good evening,I hope you all had time to enjoy > some of this weekend’s beautiful weather. A few updates relevant to tax > issues, the Equifax data breach and a settlement for Vermonters whose > information was stolen, a new home weatherization incentive progr” >

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