What is a livable wage in Vt?
First, let’s look at what isn’t livable: The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. A person working full-time with two children at the current $7.25 minimum earns $14,500 annually, which is below the federal poverty line. In Vermont, the minimum wage is $9.15 an hour, and is scheduled to rise to $10.50 over the next 3 years. So a full time minimum wage earner in Vt makes about $18,000 per year, which is still below the federal poverty line.
A recent Vermont legislative report put the livable wage in Vermont for a single person living in shared housing at $13.48 an hour, rising to $32.41 for a single wage earner in a household with two adults and two children. Many small businesses insist they can’t pay such high wages.
Four Vermonters talk about their vision of “livable jobs” in Vermont:
Jen Kimmich, the co-owner of The Alchemist in Waterbury
Liz Holtz, the founder and CEO of Liz Lovely in Waitsfield
Russ Bennett, the owner of NorthLand Design & Construction in Waitsfield, and chairman of VBSR Policy Committee
Ellen Kahler, the executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund