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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Vermont Legislative Leaders Outline Priorities For 2018 Session

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe have competing views on the wisdom of moving to a tax-and-regulate model for cannabis sales in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld
VPR file
In advance of the 2018 session, Vermont legislative leaders Rep. Mitzi Johnson and Sen. Tim Ashe (seen here in spring 2017) shared their priorities at a press conference Thursday.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe have outlined their key priorities for the legislative session that begins in January.

Speaking at a Statehouse press conference Thursday, Johnson said she wants the House to take a serious look at how education is financed.

"I would like to be able to make some changes to that education funding system," Johnson said, "reduce the reliance on property taxes a little bit and to make the system more transparent, I think is what most Vermonters are asking for."

Ashe says he's committed to passing a bill raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years.

"My top priority in general, set aside specific proposals of the day," Ashe explained, "is to lift the economic well-being of very low-income workers. "

Ashe and Johnson both say it's critical for lawmakers to find a sustainable long-term funding source to finance water quality issues.

They don't have a specific plan, but they say they're willing to look at a number of options.

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