I’ve managed to stay healthy and our income has held steady (so far), so the biggest challenge in my house is likely one felt across the community: intense uncertainty. It’s tough telling our kids: “We just don’t know” but that’s the way it is these days.
In Montpelier we tried to set ourselves up to handle the uncertainty by locking in certain guarantees and delaying big decisions where facts were rapidly evolving.
We blocked evictions so nobody became homeless during the pandemic.
We made it clear workers on the front lines were protected against wage loss and health bills if they contract coronavirus.
We boosted money for food banks, school meal programs and more so that Vermonters could count on putting food on the table.
Hopefully this helps handle some of the uncertainty.
As you may know, we passed a state budget that only covers the 1st quarter of the fiscal year (July through September). By the fall we expect to better understand what the next Federal relief package looks like and what it means for states & local governments where revenues are in sharp decline.
Similarly with school budgets, we decided to push the question off (something I’m not normally a fan of) and signaled that schools would have the funding they need to help our kids cope with a tough year ahead. Recent news out of Washington indicate direct support to schools is likely on the way, so we may get lucky.
As part of our COVID response we managed to fund broadband build-out so that fewer Vermont kids and teachers have to endure remote learning from homes with no broadband options.
Exactly when life will return to normal isn’t something Montpelier can legislate but we have done our best to be ready to handle the uncertainty ahead. Together, I am confident we will push through these difficult times and hopefully emerge stronger than ever.