Rep. Sibilia: Feb 8th update

Good evening,

I’ve included a number of updates below. Good news is beginning to increase; more then 10% of Vermonters have now been vaccinated, and vaccinations are going up and the number of active cases is slowly going down. Bennington County surge slows down, but residents remain on high alert

FORTY Days left till Spring!
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

You may be encouraged to read the news about DVFiber’s progress below – we are really fortunate to have such strong representation working to bring high speed internet throughout the 20 town region. Many many thanks to all of our volunteers.

Thank you to all who have reached out on the Department of Labor 1099 error. Please note (below) separate information below from the tax department on a different set of 1099’s which have been mailed out to persons who received a refund or a grant in this past year.


From Department of Health: Testing and COVID-19 Vaccines in Vermont

Getting Tested Is Easier Than Ever The Vermont Department of Health has partnered with CIC Health to offer COVID-19 testing at many sites in Vermont. These sites now allow Vermonters to take their own samples using a short swab in your nose. Watch a new video to learn how easy it is to do! Register for a test by visiting healthvermont.gov/testing. (You will need to create an account to register.)

From the Vermont Department of Health: Vermont is using age groupings to determine who can receive the vaccine next based on our primary goal with vaccination efforts –  to save lives.  Registration for people in Vermont who are 75 years and older is happening now. People should make an appointment online. If they are not able to make an appointment online, they can call. Get appointment setting details here.

The Health Department is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners to distribute vaccines as they become available. Our goal is to administer every available dose each week. 


1099 PROCESSING ISSUE AND IMPROPER DATA RELEASE INCIDENT


Vermont Climate Council Subcommittee Volunteers Survey
The Vermont Climate Council is looking for individuals who can support the work of its Sub-committees. Each Sub-committee will have approximately 8-10 members, including Climate Councilors and people from outside Council ranks

The Department of Labor is asking that all 1099 Forms be returned in the pre paid envelope mailed to claimants.

Important Links

1099 Incident FAQ (February 5, 2021)

Email to Claimants #2 (February 5, 2021)

Email to Claimants #1 (February 2, 2021)

There will be credit monitoring services offered to impacted claimants at no charge to the claimant. We are continuing to work through the specifics of this and will provide that information in the coming days, including how claimants can enroll in services offered.


From VTDigger: Update: Dire predictions on school property taxes aren’t coming true
An unexpected surplus in tax receipts is not just good news for the state’s coffers. It’s a boon to Vermont’s schools and to property owners, whose education taxes might otherwise have skyrocketed next year.
With the state’s revenue upgrade in hand, the House Ways and Means Committee last week greenlit legislation that would raise the average education property tax bill an estimated 3% for the next fiscal year. That’s a far cry from the 9% increase that was forecast as recently as early December, before the state had a clear picture of the revenues it could expect.

Madame Speaker, I rise in support of H.152 being committed to the House Education Committee. H.152 sets the homestead education property tax yields and the non-homestead property tax rate for fiscal year 2022.

One of the required factors in calculating the yield and tax rates is the total number of equalized pupils in Vermont schools.

The House Education Committee has before it H.54,  a bill that corrects a grave error in how we determine equalized pupil counts, an error which has resulted in a 20 year, likely life altering,  injustice to Vermont’s most needy students.  As the House Education Committee considers H.152 and the Yield calculations, it is important that they also correct how we determine equalized pupils

Remarks in support of the property tax bill being sent from the House Ways and Means Committee to the House Education Committee on February 2, 2021 by Rep. Laura Sibilia

DV Fiber Issues Request for Proposals To Bring Fiber to 20 Towns in Southern Vermont

DVFiber, a Communications Union District in southern Vermont representing 20 towns looking to build a Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to more than 10,000 unserved and underserved households in the region, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in search of private sector groups interested in a public-private partnership agreement. 

The CUD envisions completing all connections by 2024 in two or three phases, with major progress made in the first year. The RFP provides detailed information on member towns for respondents, identifies possible funding identified by its Governing Board, and sets expectations for the resulting network. It sets a deadline for responses of March 26th, 2021.

“We are laser-focused on securing affordable, equitable high-speed Internet in our communities,” DVFiber Chair Ann Manwaring said in October of 2020. “The COVID pandemic has clarified this vital need, for education, for healthcare, for business. We are grateful for the support we have earned to date.” read more


News for Attorneys and Professional Tax Preparers February 8, 2021 | VTax Connect

Important Notice Regarding 1099-G Statements
The Department of Taxes has mailed 1099-Gs to taxpayers who received a Vermont tax refund or taxable grants in 2020. The 1099-G amount is used for tax filing this year. Our Feb. 4, 2021 press release aims to reduce confusion between Department of Taxes 1099-Gs and those issued by the Department of Labor. In addition to mail, taxpayers may access their Vermont Tax 1099-Gs by clicking “Find my 1099g” on myVTax.Filing Season Begins Friday, February 12


VERMONT BUSINESSES TO SEE DECREASE IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE FOR RECORD 5TH YEAR IN A ROW

Vermont businesses will see another rate decrease in workers’ compensation insurance in 2021. This is the fifth straight year workers’ compensation rates have decreased, and when combined with decreases from 2017-2020, Vermont employers will pay an average of 36% less in workers’ compensation premiums than they did in 2016.

In the voluntary market – which is the open competitive market – loss costs (the primary component of workers’ compensation rates) will decrease by an average of 5.5%. Approximately 90% of Vermont employers receive voluntary market coverage. In the assigned risk market – which is the market for employers unable to obtain coverage in the voluntary market – rates will also decrease by an average of 4.6%. The continued rate relief in the assigned risk market is particularly good news for new businesses who are often forced to obtain coverage in this market due to lack of claims history.

These rate changes will vary by industry and classification, however, several key Vermont industries with historically high rates will continue to see rate reductions in 2021. Vermont’s logging industry will see rate reductions between 3 and 12 percent, the skiing industry will see rate reductions up to 7 percent and the dairy farming industry will see rate relief between 3 and 12 percent.

The new rates, approved by the Department of Financial Regulation, become effective on April 1, 2021.


Checking In With Vermont Legislative Leaders Jill Krowinski And Becca Balint

Governor Phil Scott has proposed a small increase in state spending. But he also has plans to invest more than $200 million dollars in one-time federal stimulus money. This hour, we look at the Democrats’ budget priorities with House Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.


AGENCY OF TRANSPORTATION RECEIVES FEDERAL RELIEF FUNDS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) has received more than $26 million in federal funding through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) to support public transit across the state.

The $26,772,119 award may be used to pay for 100% of public transit operations and vehicles. Most federal funds for public transit have a 20% or 50% non-federal funds match requirement, which usually comes from State and local resources. The CRRSAA funding will allow AOT to temporarily reduce the State and local funds needed for statewide transit service, allowing for more flexibility and resources to respond to the economic hardships and rebuilding costs associated with the COVID pandemic.

The federal relief funds will be used to address the significant vehicle and facility needs around the state, enabling AOT to replace as many as 30 buses, fund energy-efficient projects, and construct office space in the Rutland region. Operations and payroll are top priorities, and the federal funding will also be used to purchase PPE and sanitize buses.

“These funds arrive in time to help us address the additional costs and challenges of our transit service, and also enable us to invest in vehicles and rebuild an improved transit service as we move past this health and economic crisis,” said AOT Public Transit Manager Ross MacDonald.


New Bills/Resolutions Rep. Sibilia is sponsoring

H.166An act relating to changes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel

This bill proposes to make changes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. The 19 member Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) was established by Act 178 of the 2014 Vermont legislative session to replace the seven-member Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel (VSNAP) that had been in place while Vermont Yankee produced electricity.

H.185An act relating to exempting U.S. military retirement pay and survivor benefit income

This bill proposes to exempt a portion of U.S. military retirement pay from Vermont personal income tax. This bill would also exempt all U.S. military survivor benefit income received by the surviving spouse of a deceased service member.

H.196An act relating to supporting the work of the Executive Director of Racial Equity

This bill proposes to add two new FTE positions, one policy and research analyst and one outreach and education coordinator, to 3 V.S.A. chapter 68 to support the work of the Executive Director of Racial Equity to mitigate systemic racism in all branches of State government. The bill also proposes to appropriate funding for both positions.

H.207An act relating to establishing minimum qualifications to become the Adjutant General

This bill proposes to establish minimum qualifications for candidates to become the Adjutant General. A candidate must be a resident of Vermont; (ii) have attained the rank of lieutenant colonel (O-5) or above; (iii) be a current member of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Air Force Reserve, the Army National Guard, or the Air National Guard, or be eligible to return to active service in the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard; and

All bills introduced in the 21/22 biennium have until the end of next year’s session to pass.
See all bills I have sponsored this biennium and all roll call votes

Vermont House sessions

The public can also watch the Vermont House legislative sessions live or recorded videos – information below

Tuesday at 10:00 AM; Wednesday at 1:15 PM; Thursday at 1:15 PM; Friday at 9:30 AM (All times subject to change)


As always, if you have suggestions, concerns or critiques please be in touch so we can schedule time to discuss them.

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. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com

Kind regards, 

Rep. Laura Sibilia 
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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