§ 501. Creation of committee; purpose
(a) There is created a joint fiscal committee whose membership shall be appointed at the beginning of each biennial session of the general assembly. The committee shall consist of five representatives and five senators as follows:
(1) The chair of the house committee on appropriations;
(2) The chair of the house committee on ways and means;
(3) The chair of the senate committee on appropriations;
(4) The chair of the senate committee on finance;
(5) Two members of the house, one from each major political party, appointed by the speaker of the house;
(6) Two members of the senate, one from each major political party, appointed by the committee on committees; and
(7) One member of the senate to be appointed by the committee on committees and one member of the house to be appointed by the speaker.
(b) The committee shall elect a chair, vice-chair and clerk and shall adopt rules of procedure. The committee may meet at any time at the call of the chair or a majority of the members of the committee. A majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum.
(c) For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, members of the joint fiscal committee shall be entitled to the same per diem compensation and reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses as provided members of standing committees under section 406 of this title. (Added 1973, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 24, 1974; amended 1977, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 202; 1983, No. 88, § 12, eff. July 3, 1983; 1997, No. 61, § 273.)
§ 502. Employees; rules; budget
(a) The joint fiscal committee shall meet immediately following the appointment of its membership to organize and conduct its business. The joint fiscal committee shall adopt rules for the operation of its personnel.
(b) The joint fiscal committee shall employ such professional and secretarial staff as are required to carry out its functions and fix their compensation.
(1) Chapter 13 of Title 3 shall not apply to employees of the joint fiscal committee unless this exception is partially or wholly waived by the joint fiscal committee.
(2) All requests for assistance, information, and advice and all information received in connection with fiscal research or related drafting shall be confidential unless the party requesting or giving the information designates in the request that it is not confidential. Documents, transcripts, and minutes of committee meetings, including written testimony submitted to a committee, fiscal notes and summaries which have been released or approved for printing or introduction, and material appearing in the journals or calendars of either house are official documents and shall not be confidential under this subsection.
(c) The joint fiscal committee shall prepare a budget. (Added 1973, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 24, 1974; amended 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 292.)
§ 503. Functions
(a) The joint fiscal committee shall direct, supervise and coordinate the work of its staff and secretaries.
(b) The joint fiscal committee shall:
(1) Furnish research services and secretarial services of a fiscal nature to the committees on appropriations, the senate committee on finance, the house committee on ways and means, the committees on transportation and the joint fiscal committee;
(2) Carry on a continuing review of the fiscal operations of the state, including but not limited to revenues, budgeting and expenditures;
(3) Accept grants, gifts, loans, or any other thing of value, approved by the governor, under the provisions of 32 V.S.A. § 5, when the general assembly is not in session.
(4) Keep minutes of its meetings and maintain a file thereof. (Added 1973, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 24, 1974; amended 1977, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 187, eff. April 17, 1978; 1997, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)
§ 504. Intergovernmental cooperation
For the purposes of carrying out its duties, the joint fiscal committee and its staff shall have access to and the right to copy any public record of all executive, administrative and judicial departments of the state, except income and franchise tax returns and other documents classified as confidential by law. (Added 1973, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 24, 1974.)
§ 505. Basic needs budget and livable wage; report
(a) For the purposes of this section:
(1) "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) "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) 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. This calculation may serve as an additional indicator of wage and other economic conditions in the state and shall not be considered official state guidance on wages or other forms of compensation.
(c) The methodology for calculating basic needs budgets shall be built on methodology described in the November 9, 1999 livable income study committee report, modified as appropriate by any statutory changes made by the general assembly and subsequent modifications adopted by the joint fiscal committee under subsection (d) of this section.
(d) The joint fiscal committee may adopt modifications to the methodology used to determine the basic needs budget calculations under subsection (c) of this section to account for public policy changes, data availability, or any other factors that have had an impact on any aspects of the methodology. Changes or revisions in methodology adopted by the committee shall be effective no later than November in the year preceding the release of the report. (Added 2005, No. 59, § 1; amended 2007, No. 202 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)