Friday, February 6, 2015

WVTK Local & State News February 6, 2015

The Vermont Tax Department says it has temporarily stopped issuing personal income tax refunds while it makes sure that tax refund fraud isn't occurring in the state. TurboTax, the country's most popular do-it-yourself tax preparation software, said today that it has temporarily stopped processing state tax returns because of an increase in fraudulent filings. So far, Vermont has suspended refunds after 150 returns after they were flagged as fraudulent. Vermont officials say there were no Vermont systems were hacked or breached.

Police have arrested and charged a para-educator at Champlain Valley Union High School with sexual assault. According to investigators, 25-year-old Julianne Graham of Burlington, has a relationship with a 17-year-old boy during the spring of 2014 who attended CVU. Police say the Vermont Department of Children and Families reported the relationship to the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations Wednesday. Graham was arrested and arraigned in Chittenden Superior Court today. Vermont state law stipulates that no person shall engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of 18.

The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would require people to opt out of an organ donation system. Burlington Representative Barbara Rachelson says many people want to be donors but fail to register for the donation registry. Rachelson says this creates confusion for families, who are forced to make the decision under the most painful of circumstances. The nonprofit group Donate Life Vermont says 90-percent of people nationally want to donate their organs, but only 45-percent are registered donors.

Vermont is receiving more than two-million dollars from the federal government for transportation projects in several towns. The largest grants of 300-thousand-dollars are going to Colchester, Rutland, St. Albans and Williston. Essex and Killington are receiving large grants as well. Governor Peter Shumlin says every little bit helps, and these investments will make a difference for communities across Vermont.

Despite recent downgrades, Vermont revenues have come up short of expectations again. The Shumlin Administration released figures yesterday showing that the income for the General Fund, Transportation, and Education are all below projections. The governor and the legislature are now working on implementing tens of millions in cuts to balance the budget.