The theme of President Barack Obama's State of the Union message Tuesday night is expected to address the growing problem of income inequality. At the Vermont Statehouse, a coalition of lawmakers is calling on Gov. Peter Shumlin and House leadership to address some of the same problems closer to home.
They say with a steady decrease in wages for the poorest Vermonters, there is a growing disparity that must be addressed. The tripartisan group plans to introduce an "Economic Bill of Rights" calling for-- among other things-- an increase in the minimum wage to upward of $15, earned sick days for all and paid family leave.
"A lot of people scratch their head and say, 'Young people are leaving our state. What are we going to do?' Young people keep fleeing the state. I'll tell you what we're going to do, were going to create an economic reality that's attractive to people to come here and raise families, start families," said Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington.
"Once the public in Vermont completely understands who is paying for subsidies that the working poor are getting-- and that's the middle class by the way-- once those people realize that, I feel they will be onboard with this with no questions," said Rep. Topper McFaun, R-Barre Town.
The group expects to meet with House leadership later this week to present their proposals to address income inequality.
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