Legislative Update: Minimum Wage, Remote Sales Tax, MSA-VT Report

Minimum Wage

On Wednesday, a bill was introduced to raise the minimum wage to $15 over 5 years. House Leadership identified this as a priority, and urged the Governor to consider raising the state’s minimum wage as a way to address the gap between Vermonters earnings and the cost of living in the state. The current minimum wage is $10 an hour and will increase to $10.50 in 2018. After that, the minimum wage is indexed to inflation. Representative Curt McCormack (D-Burlington) is the lead sponsor of the new bill, which would raise the wage incrementally, reaching $15 by 2022.


Remote Sales Tax (Internet Sales Tax)

Amazon announced on Friday that they will begin to collect and remit sales tax in Vermont beginning Feb. 1. This is good news for Vermont, as it is estimated that Amazon is responsible for 40% of total internet sales. However, details about their strategy to collect the sales tax are still unclear and may only apply to items shipped directly from their warehouse and not to independent sellers using the Amazon platform.

In 2016, Vermont passed related legislation that will go into effect no later than July 1 of this year. As of July 1, companies that sell goods in Vermont in excess of $100,000 per year or 200 individual sales, will be required to notify consumers of the tax due on their purchases. This is because, under Vermont law, consumers are required to remit the Vermont sales tax directly when they file their annual tax return if the seller does not collect the tax at the point of sale.

MSA-VT Reports to House and Senate Committees on Commerce

This week, we released MSA-VT’s report on our 2015-2016 small business survey project. State Director Lindsay DesLauriers presented the report to the House and Senate Commerce Committees.

Health Care

More than 1,000 people turned out to a rally at Burlington High School last Sunday, calling on Congress to protect our health care. The event included speakers from Vermont’s Congressional delegation’s offices, and Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman emceed the event. The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) threatens funding for Medicaid and the privatization of Medicare. These changes could have severe impacts on Vermonters by reducing funding both for subsidies to middle income Vermonters under the ACA as well as to our Medicaid budget. With health care costs already putting pressure on our state budget, reductions in federal funds would have serious implications. 

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