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Update on the "Yield Bill"

I'm reaching out to provide clarity on the contents of the Yield Bill as it passed through the House. There seems to be some confusion stemming from a discussion within the House Ways and Means Committee regarding the handling of failed school budget votes. It's been suggested by a single Representative that a school budget could potentially fail three times before the School Board could establish a default budget.

However, it's important to note that this suggestion hasn't been incorporated into any formal amendment or bill. Representative Branagan, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, would oppose such legislation if it were to become a serious consideration.

Here's a breakdown of what the Yield Bill does include:

  • A 14.97% increase in homestead property taxes compared to last year.

  • A 17.99% increase in non-homestead property taxes.

  • The introduction of new taxes, such as a 6% cloud tax on prewritten software accessed remotely, expected to generate $20.4 million for the Ed Fund, and a 1.5% increase in short-term rental tax, expected to generate $6.5 million for the Ed Fund.

  • Changes in the calculation of the Common Level of Appraisal, aimed at equalizing assessed property values, though these changes do not directly impact property taxes.

  • Allocation of $200,000 from the Ed Fund for the New Commission on the Future of Public Education and $125,000 for a new Department of Education position focused on data analysis.

Regarding the current state statute governing how towns vote on their district school budgets, it's important to note that if a school district fails to pass a budget by July 1st, the district may borrow up to 87% of the previous year's budget. However, the district would still need to eventually pass a budget unless they opt to operate on 87%. Should the BFA - Fairfax budget continue to fail,  this option remains a likely outcome.

I have remained in constant communication with our school board. I know they are doing everything they can to bring forth a budget that provides the best service for our students at a palatable cost. I have also heard from many of you who are concerned about the increase to their property taxes and it is clear Montpelier has not done enough or provided more levers for our local boards to use. If re-elected this November, I plan on making this a priority next year! 


I’m incredibly grateful to my intern Annie who has supported me throughout the Legislative Session and who has handled all of the crazy requests I’ve thrown her way. Like a great poet once said, “Kid, you’ll move mountains”!

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