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Vermont tax credits for children could bring more cash to families.

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) — Vermont House lawmakers this week approved an ambitious plan that will put additional money into parents’ pockets.

It is similar to the Vermont Child Tax Credit is like the federal tax credit parents got last year.

Sage Barber lives in Brookfield with her husband and three children, ages 2, 4, and 7.

She claims that they were forced to get a plumber on call to repair their toilet on three separate occasions in the last year.

“Normally, we would have to put it on our credit card or onto our line of credit or out of our savings for our taxes,” Barber stated.

Barber was among hundreds of Vermont parents who got an annual tax credit for children part of the American Rescue Plan. The money was put into savings, repairs to her car, and the troublesome toilet.

“I could just feel how calmer it was in me knowing that there was a little buffer,” she said.

This week, House legislators gave their approval for a $50 million Vermont Child Tax Credit, along with

$1,200 for children six and under, split into two payments per year.

“You get the return in terms of the child’s well-being right at the moment, and you get those returns down the road in terms of better health and earnings,” said Michell Fay of Voices for Vermont Children.

The credit is available to families that earn less than $220,000 annually.

A few GOP lawmakers wanted to limit benefits at $100,000 and put the savings of $11 million into an income tax credit for Vermont nurses.

“That will help to alleviate some of the issues we face. The cause of this wasn’t completely coronavirus, but it has caused it to worsen,” said Rep. Rob LaClair, R-Barre Town.

However, the amendment was not successful.

Phil Scott pitched his tax reform plan that was sweeping. The proposal could be at the feet of the Governor. The Governor’s spokesperson states that the child tax credit proposal could help approximately 10 percent of taxpayers, whereas the Governor’s proposal would benefit around one-quarter.

In a recent press conference, Vermont Tax Commissioner Craig Bolio described the plan of action of the Governor’s tax reforms targeted towards retirees and those earning middle incomes.

“It is meaningful, progressive, and will help provide relief for Vermonters through several different stages of their lives,” Bolio stated on Feb. 2.

Legislators say they’re all about bringing more residents into the state and reversing the declining population trend. However, the best way to achieve that goal is still up for discussion. The wide array of tax-related proposals that Democrats and Republicans are proposing is funded with an extra amount of the general fund.

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Former Tesla Employees Sue The Company Over An Alleged Abusive Behaviour Reminiscent.

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Kaylen Barker, a Black woman who worked in the Tesla manufacturing facility, filed a lawsuit last week in California asserting that the automaker allows “rampant acts of racism” within its manufacturing facilities.

The lawsuit of Barker details a string of racist incidents that escalated in 2023, which the automaker was said to have been unaware of until a colleague hit her with a “hot tool”, at her and slammed her with a racial insult and used insulting words. The confrontation resulted in Barker with a swollen thigh, and she is still suffering “emotional distress, humiliation, shame and embarrassment,” according to the suit.

The offender was fired and rehired 2 weeks later, per the lawsuit. The lawsuit states that Barker was employed at the Tesla factory in Lathrop, California.

“Being a Black worker at a Tesla’s renowned California factory is to be forced to step back in time and suffer painful abuses reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit that Barker filed in the Superior Court of California claims that she was subjected to harassment following her appointment to supervise coworkers working in the brakes department of Tesla vehicles.

The suit claims an employee claimed that the “Black girl” should not be promoted over her and Barker “is Black and doesn’t know anything.”

Barker, 25, who is 25, said she would inform Tesla’s Human Resources department “and” her supervisor after each incident of racism; however, Barker wasn’t informed of any corrective measures taking place until the incident involving that hot instrument, as stated in the lawsuit.

Tesla has not responded to a request for comments.

The automaker has faced allegations of racism issues in its work environment before.

Owen Diaz, a former Tesla employee, received $136.9 million in compensation last year when the jury found that the company discriminated against racial minorities in the workplace. Others Tesla employees have been suing in recent times, accusing the company of having a toxic environment within its manufacturing facility.

Tesla was unconvinced of the verdict in the case of Diaz.

“While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect,” Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s vice president at the time of employees, wrote in an article on the Tesla blog. “We’re still far from being perfect. However, we’ve come quite many steps from 5 months ago.”

Workman left Tesla in late March, per her LinkedIn profile, and released Tesla’s first equity, diversity and inclusion report in 2023.

Black as well as African American employees are 10 per cent of Tesla’s US workforce, as per the 2020 report. Additionally, women make up 21% of the US workforce. Women comprise 17% of the top leadership positions in Tesla’s US workforce.

Tesla isn’t the only automaker to have employees who have been able to report experiencing racism in the production plant.

A lawsuit filed in 2018 by General Motors described nooses being hanging and “whites-only” written on a bathroom. GM has stated in the past that harassment and discrimination are unacceptable and to treat any reported incident with compassion and urgency. Ford has also been sued, claiming it discriminates against people of colour. Ford has stated that it is against discrimination and takes allegations seriously.

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