Friday, April 4, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 4, 2014

Most of our listening area will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight until tomorrow morning. The National Weather Service says we could see a mix of rain, sleet, and snow … making roads and walkways slippery.

It’s not a done deal yet, but statewide property taxes could be going up. The House yesterday gave preliminary approval to the per-penny rate for primary homes, raising it from 94 to 98-cents per 100-dollars of assessed value while businesses and second-homeowners would pay eight cents more this year. The change would raise an additional 40-million dollars in revenue which would fund education. A proposal to repeal and replace the current education funding system was rejected.

A second Senate Committee has passed the GMO labeling bill, and they decided not to wait on other states to require genetically modified foods to be labeled. The Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-0 on the bill. They have been considering a so-called "trigger clause," which would require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before Vermont's goes into effect. Maine and Connecticut have passed their own laws with trigger clauses, but no other state has a law currently in effect. The first state to have a law will almost certainly be sued by some grocery corporations. If Vermont loses the lawsuit, Attorney General Bill Sorrell says it would cost taxpayers millions; though he says he will fight to win.

Chittenden County Transportation Authority is offering free bus rides now thru next Sunday. Today is the first day drivers are on the job after a nearly 3 week strike. The CCTA Board of Commissioners is offering the free service to help offset some of the economic hardship endured by its customers during the strike. Free rides on all CCTA Busses will end on Sunday, April 13th. Montpelier LINK customers will receive vouchers during this time. If you have a monthly pass that lost value during the strike, you will also be able to exchange it for a new one.

It’s later than usual, but the maple sugaring season is finally here! Governor Peter Shumlin performed the ceremonial first tap of a maple tree in Stowe yesterday. The intense cold we’ve had going into spring has delayed the sap running, but it’s finally getting underway. Vermont is the leading producer of maple goods, with only Canada rivaling the state on an international level.