First Step Toward a People's Budget Passed by Vermont Senate Committee
The People's Budget Campaign in Vermont has successfully pushed to define the purpose of the state budget as addressing "the needs of the people of Vermont in a way that advances human dignity and equity."
After constituents from across Vermont, mobilized by the Vermont Workers' Center, called upon legislators to take a first step toward creating a People's Budget, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to include rights-based language in this year's appropriations bill. The bill will come to a vote on the Senate floor later this week.
The amendment to the appropriations bill includes the following language:
"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 . . . recognize every person's need for health, housing, dignified work, education, food, social security, and a healthy environment."
The committee's amendment also calls upon the administration to develop:
"a process for public participation in the development of budget goals, as well as general prioritization and evaluation of spending and revenue initiatives" and:
"a current services budget, providing the public with an estimate of what the current level of services is projected to cost in the next fiscal year."
The bill also calls for the evaluation of budget and revenue policy for the purpose of measuring success in accomplishing the purposes of the state budget.
The Vermont Workers' Center commented with a call to action: "This amendment constitutes a first step toward a people’s budget that would satisfy the human rights of the people of Vermont, but we need your help to continue moving it forward in the legislature. We believe the state budget bill H.781 will be voted on the Senate on Wednesday and soon be in conference committee with the Senate and the House."
Campaign organizer Kiera Lewis presents a photo petition to the legislative conference committee.
Members of the People's Budget Campaign have been monitoring legislative committee meetings throughout the session. View photos here.