BREAKING: People's Budget Moves Forward in the Vermont Legislature

* * * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 3, 2012
Contact: James Haslam, 802.272.0882james@workerscenter.org

BREAKING: People's Budget Moves Forward in the Vermont Legislature

MONTPELIER - The Vermont Workers' Center (VWC) welcomes the inclusion
in the "big bill" of language that for the first time attempts to
define the purpose of the state budget, calling this inclusion a
historic first step toward establishing a people's budget — spending
and revenue policy focused on satisfying the human needs of the people
of Vermont. The language, which originated in the Senate
appropriations committee, was approved by the conference committee
late Wednesday.

Approval came a day after over 2,000 people and 37 organizations
marched to the statehouse and rallied there, calling on lawmakers to
"Put People First". Among the demands voiced at this rally is a
people's budget, which would reflect recognition and acceptance by the
legislature of government's obligation to respect, protect and fulfill
the human rights of the people of Vermont.

According to VWC President, Peg Franzen, "despite the best intentions
of Vermont's elected representatives, each year more and more Vermont
residents suffer because their human needs are not being met. Many of
our neighbors lack adequate healthcare, housing, food, education, work
and other fundamental human needs."

For the first time in Vermont history, the purpose of the State budget
will be defined in statute:

"The state budget should be designed to address the needs of the
people of Vermont in a way that advances human dignity and equity."

"Spending and revenue policies will seek to promote economic well
being among the people of Vermont . . . . "

"Spending and revenue policies will . . . recognize every person's
need for health, housing, dignified work, education, food, social
security, and a healthy environment."

The bill as passed out of the conference committee also includes
important language calling for the development of better processes for
accountability, transparency and public participation.