Rep. Sibilia: March 23nd

Good Morning –

This week the House will debate a number of bills this week including the budget, capital bill, transportation bill, Yield Bill and a massive broadband bill. These bills are all up for action in the House this week and presuming they pass, they will head over to be debated in the Senate.

The budget process sees the Governor propose a budget to run the government, then the House considers the Governors budget and proposes it’s own and then sends it on to the Senate. Disagreement are figured out along the way until there are enough members who support a budget the Governor won’t veto usually at the beginning of May. This year we have a major wrinkle as a massive new set of federal funds have been announced just as the budget is wrapping up in the House. It is unclear to me how much additional time may be needed to sort through differences in how to proceed between the Governor, the House and the Senate.

Tomorrow our Committee will report H.360 a proposal to accelerate community broadband deployment. The regulatory structure for our Telecom system that was established 25 years ago was based on “market competition providing the best service and lowest prices to Americans.” In many places that worked, but not in rural America and not in Vermont. It’s less profitable to provide internet service in rural Vermont, so it’s the last place private ISPs go.

Because this market is unregulated – it is prohibited by federal statute from being regulated – Vermont has been challenged in solving our connectivity gap. Our efforts have been uncoordinated.

This bill is intended to provide coordination. To require accountability. To focus on universal service, not just connectivity to the most profitable customers. It will center work around the CUD’s – in Southern Vermont that is DVFiber and SoVermontFiber.

A reminder that Governor Scott still has Press Conferences every Tuesday and Friday where the members of his administration answer question on the ongoing pandemic and state of emergency. With vaccines rolling our rapidly and Vermonters continuing to maintain vigilance -we are seeing changes in the Governors Executive Orders more frequently. We now also have dates for vaccinations for individuals 16+.

The dates for all vaccination age bands for individuals aged 16+ have been released

You can register now and go back to schedule an appointment when your age band opens up at: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

  • People 65 years and older Make an appointment anywhere. No passcode is needed.
  • People 16 years or older with high-risk health conditions Make an appointment anywhere EXCEPT Walgreens. No passcode is needed. See high-risk health conditions(link is external)
  • School staff and child care workers
  • People who work in the public safety system
  • Health care personnel
  • English language learners and people in immigrant/refugee communities
  • Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)

Appointments are required. Clinics cannot accept walk-ins.

ONLINE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

BY PHONE Can’t make an appointment online or need help? Contact our call center at 855-722-7878.

Call Center Hours Monday – Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Read answers to common questions, like what to expect at your appointment, getting an interpreter or what to do if you can’t get to a vaccination site.


Effective 3/24: Bars and social clubs may operate under the restaurant guidance at section 7.1

Vermont League of Cities and Towns Weekly Update


Vermont Sole Proprietor Stabilization Program

Click Here to Register for April 1st, 4:00 PM Program Webinar

Webinar limited to 500 attendees. Recording available April 2nd

About Vermont’s CDBG-CV Round 2 Sole Proprietor Stabilization Grant Program is designed to assist sole proprietors with no employees that have been impacted by COVID-19 and have remaining unmet need that can be documented.  Businesses will be required to provide a duplication of benefit affidavit to document unmet need.

Grant Amounts will range between $1,500 and $10,000 based on eligibility and the ability to document unmet need.

Timeline

  • Application Opens – April 5, 2021 at 9:00 AM EST. Check this website for access
  • Application Closes – May 26, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST
  • Grant funds will be given out on a rolling, first come first served basis


From VT Department of TAX: Tax Year 2020 Personal Income Tax Filing Due Date

TJ spotted this guy keeping watch at the Dover Transfer Station Sunday

On March 17, the IRS extended the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021. By Vermont law, the Vermont personal income tax filing due date for tax year 2020 is also extended to May 17, 2021. This means taxpayers can file their 2020 personal income tax return, and pay any tax owed, by May 17, 2021 without any penalties or interest. If a taxpayer is expecting a refund, they are still encouraged to file as soon as they have all of their tax information and are able to do so, in order to get their refund as soon as possible. The best way to get your refund quickly is to file electronically and select direct deposit for your refund.

This extension also applies to Homestead Declarations and Property Tax Credit Claims. Taxpayers can file these along with their personal income tax return by May 17 without penalty or interest.

Please be aware that at this time, the due date for any tax year 2021 estimated payments due on April 15, 2021 has not been extended, and should still be paid by April 15, 2021. 


New Federal Exclusion of Unemployment Compensation

The American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, includes a retroactive provision for tax year 2020 excluding the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits received from income, per individual, so long as the taxpayer had less than $150,000 of income in 2020. Read more from the IRS here on this new exclusion.

Will the unemployment insurance benefits exclusion apply to Vermont state taxes?

The exclusion of UI benefits does not automatically apply to Vermont state income taxes. When federal tax law changes, it usually requires a corresponding change in Vermont law to apply to Vermont state taxes as well. Therefore, in order for the Vermont state income tax rules to include this exclusion, the Vermont Legislature needs to pass a law “linking up” to the latest federal tax laws.

I haven’t filed my Vermont tax return yet for 2020 and received UI benefits. Can I still file right now?

Vermont personal income tax forms begin with federal adjusted gross income (AGI), line 11 of form 1040. This means that for taxpayers who filed on or after March 15, 2021 and who took the UI exclusion on their federal tax return, their Vermont tax forms will automatically include this exclusion. If the Legislature ultimately does conform with this exclusion, taxpayers who filed after March 15, 2021 and took the exclusion at the federal level would need to take no further action. If the Legislature ultimately does not conform with the new exclusion, the Department will issue further guidance to taxpayers who already filed their tax return. At a minimum, the Department would offer a grace period to have corrections made to taxpayers’ Vermont state income tax returns without penalty or interest related to this change.

Because it is unknown whether the Vermont Legislature will link up or not, the Vermont Department of Taxes is not taking action to change forms at this time.

I have already filed my Vermont state tax return for 2020, should I amend my return to take advantage of this exclusion?

No, you should not file an amended return at this time. If the Legislature does not pass a law to conform to the federal tax treatment, the exclusion will not apply to Vermont state income taxes. The Department is recommending taxpayers await further guidance from both the IRS and Vermont Department of Taxes before filing amended returns for this issue.


Know someone who has recently moved here?

Share this link with them and ask them to sign up for the new Vermont Welcome Wagon effort. https://www.vtwelcomewagon.org/for-participants

And if you already live here and are interested in meeting new neighbors and giving them an inside track, consider being a host (sign up here) https://www.vtwelcomewagon.org/for-hosts


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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