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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.776

Introduced by Representatives Moran of Wardsboro and Howrigan of Fairfield

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Labor; wages; basic needs budget; livable wage report; joint fiscal office

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to provide a consistent methodology for determining the costs of a household’s most basic needs in Vermont and to create technical support for the joint fiscal office to issue a report.

AN ACT RELATING TO COMPUTATION OF THE BASIC NEEDS BUDGET AND THE LIVABLE WAGE

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  2 V.S.A. § 505 is amended to read;

§ 505.  LIVABLE WAGE ANALYSIS; BASIC NEEDS BUDGET CALCULATION AND LIVABLE WAGE; REPORT

(a)  Every other year beginning January 1, 2007, the joint fiscal office shall issue a report on or before January 15.  The report shall be updated as needed on or before January 1 of the interim year to reflect any significant economic, policy, or statutory changes that substantially affect the information in the report issued the previous January 15.  The report shall include a computation of baseline data of the cost of living in Vermont and the current wage levels within various sectors of the economy using the methodology used by the livable income study committee in its report issued on November 9, 1999.  The report shall include; For the purposes of this section:

(1)  A set of “basic needs budgets” for various household configurations for the previous year.  The “basic needs budgets” are calculations of the amount of money needed by various households to maintain a decent standard of living in Vermont, using current state and federal data sources for determining such basic monthly expenses as food, housing, transportation, child care, utilities, tax burden assessment, personal expenses, and health care.

“Basic needs” means the essentials needed to run a household, including food, housing, transportation, child care, utilities, health and dental care, taxes, rental and life insurance, personal expenses, and savings.

(2)  Any changes in the federal minimum wage and in the minimum wage rates of surrounding and comparable states  “Basic needs budget” is the amount of money needed by a Vermont household to maintain a basic standard of living, calculated using current state and federal data sources for the costs of basic needs.

(3)  “Livable wage” means the hourly wage required for a full-time worker to pay for one-half of the basic needs budget for a two-person household with no children and employer‑assisted health insurance averaged for both urban and rural areas.

(b)  Recommendations for changes or revisions in the methodology used to determine the basic needs budget calculations as needed shall be approved by the joint fiscal committee On or before January 15 of each new legislative biennium, beginning in 2009, the joint fiscal office shall report the calculated basic needs budgets of various representative household configurations and the calculated livable wage for the previous year. 

(c)  The report and any revisions shall be presented to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs The methodology for calculating basic needs budgets shall be built on methodology described in the November 9, 1999 livable income study committee report, including any changes to the statute, subsequent modifications made by the joint fiscal office to account for public policy changes, data availability, or any other factors that have had an impact on any aspects of the methodology.  

(d)  Recommendations for changes or revisions in the methodology used to determine the basic needs budget calculations as needed shall be approved by the joint fiscal committee no later than November in the year preceding the release of the report.


Sec.  2.  BASIC NEEDS BUDGET TECHNICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL;

              ESTABLISHED; DUTIES

(a)  A basic needs budget technical advisory council is established to work with the joint fiscal office and a panel of experts.  This council shall convene at least every ten years, or as requested by the joint fiscal committee.

The council shall:

(1)  Review the current methodology for calculating the basic needs budget and determining livable wage.

(2)  Take testimony from a variety of stakeholders, including employers and employees, in order to acquire broad public comment.

(3)  Make written recommendations for revisions to the methodology  to the joint fiscal committee by November 15, 2008.

(b)  The basic needs budget technical advisory council shall consist of nine members, who shall serve from July 1, 2008, until January 15, 2009, when the basic needs budget and livable wage report is issued.  Members of the council shall include:

(1)  One member appointed by the speaker of the house.

(2)  One member appointed by the senate president pro tempore.

(3)  One member appointed jointly by the speaker of the house and the senate president pro tempore who shall be a member of a minority party.

(4)  The chair of the house committee on general, housing and military affairs, or designee.

(5)  The chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, or designee.

(6)   Four additional members with expertise and experience with the data and methodology used to calculate the basic needs budgets and shall include a representative of each of the following selected by the organization:

(A)  The Vermont sustainable jobs fund.

(B)  The Vermont small business development center.

(C)  The agency of human services planning division.

(D)  The department of labor, economic and labor market information division.

(c)  The chairs of the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, or their designees shall be co-chairs of the council.  The joint fiscal office shall provide administrative support and shall engage a panel of independent experts to assist with data analysis and methodological considerations.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us