Friday, February 27, 2015

WVTK Local & State News February 27, 2015

Those who have already filed their taxes are seeing some nice returns this year. The IRS says it has already paid out $125 billion in refunds. That's from some 50 million tax returns already filed. A whopping 83 percent of those filed qualified for a refund. The average check weighs in at a hefty $3,120. That's over $300 more than average. People expecting large refunds typically file earlier. Those who will owe Uncle Sam come April 15th are more likely to procrastinate.

A medical emergency this morning at the West Rutland School triggered a lockdown. Authorities say, just after 8 am, an ambulance was called to the school for an unspecified medical emergency. For roughly 15 minutes, students and teachers were asked to stay in their rooms to keep the hallways clear. No students or teachers were ever at risk, but an automated message was sent out to parents. The automated message triggered a flood of phone calls to the school.

Vermont lawmakers and Governor Peter Shumlin's administration are working to close the deficit in the current fiscal year. The 18-million-dollar shortfall comes after revenue projections were downgraded last month. Some early cuts being suggested are ending bottled water for state employees and trimming funds for the state health insurance exchange. Lawmakers and the governor are also wrangling with a projected deficit of 94-million dollars in the upcoming fiscal year.

Help is on the way for low-income Vermonters with their heating bills. The state is giving $375,000 to five community-action agencies. They estimate that the new funds will help about 1,500 families buy up to $250 of home heating fuel. The grants are going to be available to households that have already used up their seasonal and crisis fuel grants.

Vermont is naming a new state forest after the late Senator Jim Jeffords. He passed away this past August at the age of 80. The state is designating the 13-hundred acre tract of land in his hometown of Shrewsbury as the Jim Jeffords State Forest. Jeffords served in the U.S. House and Senate for a combined 32 years, leaving the Senate in 2007.