Authored and submitted by Steve May, of Richmond, VT.
Passed by the State Committee on March 13, 2016.
1. PREAMBLE: Vermont’s economy is changing in dramatic ways. Manufacturing jobs have largely left the state, while ventures that have more of a basis in the creative economy and hospitality sector have flourished. The cyclical and short-term nature of these work assignments demand a different public policy relationship relative to employment our political leaders. Vermont currently has historically low unemployment numbers (3.7% in December 2015 per Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)but throngs on Vermonters are underemployed, working multiple part-time and seasonal jobs for low wages.
2. UBI (universal basic income) is a safeguard increasingly used in Europe as a protection for workers in light of these kinds of employment pressures. UBI is designed to deliver a benefit, which would insulate workers from the shocks of a stop-and-start economy. UBI would be an amount of money to be determined that every Vermonter would get from the state of Vermont. UBI is an anti-poverty initiative, designed to meet the most basic of human needs. UBI would be treated as income and taxed as income, people of means would have all their earnings including UBI taxed. People of lesser means would receive an increased tax return through a combination of the Earned Income Tax Credit and UBI. Even following full implementation of a UBI the drafters of this measure believe work will be necessary to meet the needs of ordinary Vermonters, but the terms of that employment should be determined by workers who are empowered to make based on their specific circumstances. Workers ought to be able to act in their own interest free from the duress caused by a rigged economy UBI represents the possibility for workers to explore their own personal and professional interests. For UBI to be fully funded a multiplicity of approaches will be necessary, but this proposal would establish a framework and recognizes the people’s dividend as an important step towards meeting that ultimate goal–
3. WHEREAS, establishing a universal basic income delivering every Vermonter an annual dividend would serve to address inefficiencies in the Vermont Labor Market; and,
4. WHEREAS, that a universal basic income would ease financial pressures on every Vermonter facilitating greater creativity and dynamism amongst Vermont workers; and,
5. WHEREAS, that the Vermont workplace has changed, with more Vermonters confronting increased levels of economic insecurity; and
6. LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Vermont Progressive Party shall endorse the creation of a fund earmarked for the purpose of equitably sharing the bounty of Vermont’s wealth and abundance shall be established; and,
7. LET IT BE RESOLVED, that this assembly supports formation of an entity which shall be tasked with the primary oversight responsibility for assessment, collection and disbursal of monies associated with the establishment of this fund; and,
8. LET IT BE RESOLVED, as a result of creating a floor this body affirms that delivering every Vermonter a Universal Basic Income as a fundamental right which shall be granted to every Vermonter will decrease overall rates of poverty will and affirm the dignity of work; and,
9. BE FINALLY RESOLVED, that a majority of the assembled members support H. 689, a measure under consideration by the Vermont Legislature (and introduced by Hon. Susan Hatch Davis) which will create a study for the purpose of considering the viability and contours of implementation of a Universal Basic Income regime in Vermont. and