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Washington-6

2017 Representing Calais, Marshfield & Plainfield

TOWN MEETING REPORT


Representative Janet Ancel

I am honored to represent the residents of Calais, Marshfield and Plainfield at the


State House. It is a particular privilege to represent so many who take the time to
become informed about issues and to share their thoughts and concerns. Thank
you for making your voice heard at Town Meeting and throughout the year.

This session can best be characterized by two words: change and uncertainty. We
have new administrations in Montpelier and in Washington, and new leadership in
the State House. Change by itself can create opportunities and we are considering
ways to invest in housing, higher education, child care, and clean water.

The shift in Washington has been dramatic and troubling. I am proud to join with a
tri-partisan group of elected officials, including Governor Scott and legislative
leaders, to stand against the most egregious proposals from Washington, in
particular resisting the Presidents illegal and wrongful ban on immigration. S.79,
which is now in the House, will provide some reassurance to Vermonters who feel
threatened by the national rhetoric on immigrants and refugees.

Janet

VERMONT BUDGET UPDATE Fees, on the other hand, are generally raised
Governor Scott has signaled a significant shift in through one time purchases and are directed to
priorities from his predecessor and in particular pay for that service. Examples include storm
has said he will oppose any increases in state water discharge fees, underground gasoline tank
taxes or fees. The budget proposed by the fees, Act 250 permit application fees and car
administration depends on increases in the registration fees.
property tax and on changes in school finance
that take away local control and are likely There are also many exceptions known as tax
unconstitutional. Without the changes in school expenditures, and sometimes referred to as a
funding, the proposed budget is out of balance shadow budget. These include tax credits,
by $35-50 million. deductions and exemptions and are found
throughout the tax code. Each tax expenditure
We have a strong tradition in Vermont of represents revenue that is not collected.
balancing our state budget. We are committed Examples are the sales tax exemptions on food
to maintain that tradition and keep our focus on a and clothing and the tax credit for research and
strong, healthy future for Vermont. development.

We are closely monitoring potential budget cuts Typically by Town Meeting break the committee
the federal government may pass down. At the is deep into testimony on the annual Fee and
same time were facing serious budget Miscellaneous Tax Bills, and preparing for
challenges with our own state budget. The setting the statewide education property tax
uncertainty from Washington makes these rates. Instead, this year we have spent most of
decisions all the more difficult. our time considering requests for new tax
exemptions, funding for the water bill and better
The House Ways and Means Committee, the sales tax compliance.
committee I chair, is responsible for the
revenues of the state. Generally, tax bills start in Vermont law requires the legislature to set
the House. Our committee is charged with Vermonts statewide property tax rates to
raising sufficient money to balance the spending support local school budgets passed by
that the Appropriations Committee builds into the Vermonters at town meetings. The House Ways
state budget. The money raised fits into two and Means Committee will propose a tax rate
broad categories, taxes and fees. Taxes are based on locally passed budgets.
levied across entire classes of taxpayers.
Examples include all residential taxpayers, all
consumers of gasoline or all retail consumers.

Rep. Janet Ancel


Chair, House Committee on Ways WWW.LEGISLATURE.VERMONT.GOV
& Means
PO Box 123
Calais, VT 05648
ACT 46 HOUSING

Along with many other House members, I Housing has generated a lot of interest in the
introduced a bill that would give districts more legislature this year and we are likely to consider
time and flexibility in implementing Act 46. Many bonding to raise $35 million to invest in low and
Vermont towns will be voting on merger moderate income housing. This will be a boon
proposals under Act 46 during Town Meeting for families and for businesses who need a place
week. These new merged districts may achieve for employees to live. It will also increase
the savings and better educational outcomes construction in the state and will therefore be a
,
that were anticipated in Act 46 I hope they do. boost to the states economy.

But, these decisions are much more difficult in


some parts of the state, whether because of
geographysize, school structure, or differences Interesting Facts About Vermont
in indebtedness. The State Board rules on
alternative structures make this situation worse Vermonts 3.1% unemployment rate was the
rather than better, greatly lessening the flexibility 5th lowest in the country in 2016.
that Act 46 originally intended. There are 2,300 more people employed in
Vermont than in 2015.
Its still a long road to making the changes I Vermont has the second lowest rate of
believe we need, but I will continue to work as uninsured people at 3.7%
According to the Kaufman Foundation,
hard as I can to find a way to address the very
Vermont is rated the second-best state for
real challenges identified by the WCSU Act 46 small businesses.
Study Committee. Approximately 70% of Vermont businesses
are small businesses.
The craft beer industry is worth $350 million
CALAIS CEMETERY COMMISSION and growing in Vermont.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple
In late fall, members of the Calais Cemetery products in the USA.
Commission asked me to introduce two bills, one Approximately 70% of Vermont businesses
dealing with burial depth and the other dealing are small businesses.
with investment of cemetery funds. The bills Visitors to Vermont attractions increased by
were straightforward but generated a lot of 40,000 in 2016.
interest and thanks to great support from According to US News and World Report,
members of the Cemetery Commission and Vermont is one of the 10 best states in
Calais community members, both have passed America.
the House and are now on their way to the Bankrate.com said Vermont is the easiest
state in the country for first-time
Senate. homebuyers.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS


The House has approved a revision to the
expungement statutes which would make it
easier for someone convicted of a specified list
of crimes to have their record expunged. This
will make a real difference in the lives of people
who have committed a crime, served their
sentence and have shown they are ready to
contribute to their community.

CONTACT ME
Email: janetancel@gmail.com
Phone: (802) 249-1660
Facebook: Rep. Janet Ancel

PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF JANET ANCEL. NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS WERE USED TO PRINT OR DISTRIBUTE THIS REPORT.