Carolyn Branagan

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House convenes midnight session to address spending thresholds

MONTPELIER — Lawmakers burned the midnight oil early Saturday morning to approve a bill that softens the impact of school district spending thresholds. In the sort of move normally reserved for the final days of the legislative session in May, House members convened a special session shortly after midnight Saturday morning, after reaching a deadlock the day before on a bill that would raise school district spending thresholds and lower the tax penalties for exceeding them. It was more than one week ago when House lawmakers passed a bill that would raise every spending threshold — which vary from district to district — by 0.9 percent, and lower the tax penalty for exceeding them from 1 dollar for every dollar over the threshold to 25 cents for every dollar over. The thresholds themselves are a provision of Act 46, the school district merger bill passed by lawmakers in 2015, which seeks to create larger districts to both promote equity for students and contain costs. The thresholds were intended as a two-year stop-gap measure to give relief to property tax owners while the mergers take place. Continue Reading →

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Branagan calls on Vermont GOP to denounce Trump

Rep. Carolyn Branagan

MONTPELIER — Georgia Rep. Carolyn Branagan is calling on leaders of the Vermont Republican Party to condemn recent comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump in which he called for banning all Muslims from traveling to the U.S.

Branagan, in an email Monday to Vermont Republican Party Chairman David Sunderland and Executive Director Jeffrey Bartley, asked for the party to “point out that his comment is against everything America stands for” and that “he is damaging to all Republicans.”

Trump, the real estate mogul and the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, called Monday for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Trump has previously advocated for surveillance of mosques in the U.S. and perhaps creating a database of Muslims in the country. “What trump was talking about is not the terrorists or people who mean us ill will. He’s talking about banning an entire group of people based on only their religion,” Branagan told the Vermont Press Bureau Tuesday. “It is not Republican, it is not American, it is not anything except Trump.”

“I really think it’s time to stand up and say that he’s going over the edge. He doesn’t speak for me,” she added. Continue Reading →

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