Government & Politics

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

This week marks the 47th year that Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle has distributed his annual Town Meeting Day survey. This year's survey includes questions about taxes, the environment and the legalization of marijuana.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 3.

In the winter of 1969, Doyle, a history professor at Johnson State College, was serving his first term in the Vermont Senate.

House lawmakers have spent much of the 2015 legislative session looking for ways to curb the growth of property taxes. Their new plan to impose spending caps on school budgets might help accomplish that goal. But it has also earned legislators some new and powerful enemies.

Lawmakers in the House Committee on Education broke into applause last week after their unanimous vote in favor of a wide-ranging education reform bill. But not everyone is a fan.

Audio for this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 3

When I served in state government, inevitably we’d answer the phone on the 1st Wednesday in March and hear from perplexed callers from out-of-state: “Why didn’t you answer my call yesterday? Did you have problems with your phone system?” “No,” we’d reply, “it was a state holiday.” “Huh? What holiday?” “Why, Town Meeting Day, of course.”

Marion Post Wolcott, 1910-1990 / Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540; Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-053261-D (b&w film neg.)

Every year the Vermont press run the Town Meeting Day stories: reports in which community tradition and the democratic process are juxtaposed against the obligations of modern life and the efficiency of Australian ballot. The tone is one of loss - Town Meeting Day in danger of dying off, Vermont fighting to hold on: It’s all highly self-reflective and anxious.


Vermont has lost a valued community leader. David Dill, former secretary of transportation and Lyndon selectman, died Thursday evening at his home following an illness. He was 68.

Dill moved to Lyndonville in 1990 after a long career in the Air Force, including a stint in the Department of Defense working on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issues. Associates say he brought the same passion he had shown on the national level to his state and local public service in Vermont.

Trent Campbell / Addison Independent

Town Meeting Day this year is without any major statewide referenda, but municipal and school budgets are up for voter approval statewide.

Follow the votes on town and school budgets from around Vermont, and share results from your own town by tweeting with the hashtag #TMDVT or by emailing

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Gov. Peter Shumlin is losing favor among the Vermonters that elected him, according to a new poll commissioned by

A survey of 700 Vermonters, conducted in mid-February by the Castleton Polling Institute, found that more people disapprove of the Democratic governor’s job performance than approve of it.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Voters in the tiny Northeast Kingdom town of East Haven will decide Tuesday whether to approve an education budget that would raise their taxes. The town closed its school four years ago, but it’s turning out to be more expensive to educate East Haven children elsewhere than it was to keep the school doors open.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin wants to raise $90 million in state revenues to pay for a wide ranging health care reform agenda. And while a key House committee is backing his push for new taxes, the House Committee on Health Care looks to be leaning toward a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to raise the money, not the payroll tax preferred by Shumlin.