Monday, September 8, 2014

Livable Wage And A Healthy Economy


     President Franklin Roosevelt stated in 1938: “No business which depends for its existence on paying less than living wages ... has any right to continue in this country. By living 
wages ... I mean the wages of a decent living.”
     Pope Francis, in 2014, called for “general temporal welfare and prosperity ... and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives. A just wage enables them to have adequate access to all the other goods which are destined for our common use.”
     Henry Ford spurred the economy in 1914 by raising his workers’ daily wages to $5. Later he explained “We were building for the future ... A low-wage business is always insecure.”
     A fair economy insures, through our labors, a decent living for ourselves and our families. I define a decent living as a place to call home, food on the table, clothes on our backs, heat in the winter, transportation, some money in the bank, a good education, and a better life for our children.
     While Vermont’s pristine beauty is ideal to promote tourism, any industry that exists through underpaying the workers who sell merchandise, operate ski lifts, serve food, change beds and clean toilets, should be examined, not just by FDR, Pope Francis, or Henry Ford, but by all responsible citizens. A decent return on investment for businesses must be matched by a decent return for those whose labor creates the economy.  
     There is good and thoughtful talk of creating high-paying jobs in Vermont through entrepreneurship, incubators and workforce training; all of which I support. Regardless of new jobs created, however, we will still need a hands-on labor force to sustain our retail and service industries.
     An immediate and equitable way to grow the economy is to enhance the pay of existing, necessary jobs. The myth that if wages go up jobs will be lost is dispelled by extensive studies to the contrary. Additional income increases spending, stabilizes the workforce, grows industry and creates more jobs. More money flows into our economy and more residents, not just out-of-staters, will be shopping in our stores and dining in our restaurants.
     Three ways to raise pay are: By enlightened action by employers, which is happening in many businesses in Vermont; by collective bargaining through unions; and by legislative action, which happened in the last biennium with overwhelming citizen support and nonpartisan action. 
     With the continuation of low paying jobs, we are experiencing decreases in tax revenues and increases in financial assistance needs, and thus, are facing another budget gap for 2015.  It is time for us to push for a robust Vermont economy that balances a decent return on investment for those who put forth capital and a livable wage for those whose labor creates our prosperity.
     For anyone with questions or comments, please be in touch by mail at 58 Hi-Hopes Road, Wardsboro, VT 05355, by phone at ​802-896-9408, by E-mail at or by website at
    Thank you.
    State Representative John Moran
    Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham

Local Economic Development


    Supporting the production and sales of local malt, wine and sprits is a major economic development focus of mine.
     Act 210, cosponsored by Representative Manwaring and me, authorizes the selling of beer and wine by the bottle at special events. It has been a key factor in the success of the Brewers’ and the Wine and Harvest Festivals in the Deerfield Valley.    
    It is no accident that Vermont is a national leader in creating local beer, wine and liquor. Expanding business opportunities in a highly regulated industry calls for a step-by-step process over time, indicated by some of the actions taken by my legislative committee, including: 
  • Authorizing wine producer permits at farmers markets to promote tastings and sales (Act 21, 2007)
  • Permitting malt beverage tastings similar to wine tastings (Act 143, 2008) 
  • Licensing climate-controlled storage facilities that receive, store and transport wine ordered by third party Vermonters (Act 151, 2008)
  • Approving increased alcohol content for specialty beers (Act 167, 2008)
  • Improving marketing opportunities for manufacturers: to serve beer and wine at special events and sell by the bottle on premises; to conduct on premises and at farmers’ markets, testing and selling of fortified wine by glass or bottle; and to conduct testing and selling of spirits on premises and at special events (Act 10, 2009) 
  • Permitting a malt beverage manufacturer to sell at two locations on its contiguous property (Act 77, 2010) 
  • Allowing restaurant customers to take home resealed unfinished bottles of specialty beer, increasing the number of special and testing event permits, and creating a promotional railroad tasting permit (Act 102, 2010)
  • Changing statutes to expand caterers’ permits, to export wine, and to increase sales for wine makers (Act 115, 2012)
  • Allowing export of malt beverages, sale of competitor products by manufacturers, and brewer direct customer shipping (Act 64, 2013) 
  • Accelerating tasting permission for businesses waiting formal license approval, legalizing sampler flights [more than one drink in a single order] and permitting direct retailer pick up from wine manufactures (Act 202, 2014)
    While I am a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, who is a strong advocate for substance abuse treatment, I also respect a Vermonter’s right to drink responsibility and I will continue to support economic development through promotion of specialty Vermont beer, wine and spirits.
    For constituents with questions or comments, please be in touch by mail at 58 Hi-Hopes Road, Wardsboro, VT 05355, by phone at 802-896-9408 and by E-mail at
    Thank you,
    State Representative John Moran
    Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham

Dot's Restaurant in Dover, VT



FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Dear Chamber Members:

    Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning.
    From the No-Snow crisis in January, 2007, when I began as our district representative, through this recession, to the present escalating economic inequality nationwide, I have been concerned about our economy and its effects upon our employers and employees.
    Over the years, with others, I have supported legislation promoting economic development: Telecommunications access;Tourism funding; Deerfield Valley and Windham County business initiatives; Road and bridge improvement; Production and promotion of local beer, wine and liquors; Farm-to-plate; Business loans; Workforce development; And, designation of skiing and snowboarding as the Vermont winter sports.
    Unfortunately, in our quest for prosperity we are handicapped by a dysfunctional federal government of sequester and austerity, or sequesterity. I find such an agenda harmful to businesses and employees, especially in the ‘heat and eat cuts’ to our low wage earners. Because of failure at the national level, it falls, as it has in the past, to the states to exercise leadership.
    For the last seven years I have worked to represent the interests of constituents, those in this room and the four thousand who are not present today. I have also been candid in stating I stand on issues. Before Act 3 of 2009 passed, I was a proponent of same-sex marriage. At town meetings last year I was quite clear that I would support revenue increase to improve our failing transportation infrastructure. This most recent edition of the Deerfield Valley News [Moran supports living wage bill, page 1, and Moran seeks feedback on sick leave, page 4A] demonstrates my continued transparency. 
    As Jack Deming of the Deerfield Valley News in a balanced manner addressed the living wage legislation and my letter to the editor covered the details of the paid time off bill, and being aware that other legislators are here to present to you, I will wait for questions before going into any more detail.
    The General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee, of which I am the vice chair, will take testimony on the wage bills after we receive data from our Joint Fiscal Office and our legislative economist. We have already taken extensive testimony on the time off bill and are close to voting on it in committee. As always, we will consider the interests of employer, employee and the general public as we move forward and will craft final legislation that responds to the testimony received.    
    I believe that everyone in this room and in the towns that I represent (Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham), wants Vermont to have a vibrant and prosperous economy, and to be known as the business and worker friendly state.
    Thank You.
    State Representative John Moran
    Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham

Town Meeting Report 2014

Town Meeting Report 2013

Saturday, September 6, 2014 Live and Local conversation with Rep. John Moran (D) Windham-Bennington

The Legislative Process - Bucketville News March 2013

Letter to The Bucketville News • March 2013 Edition


    As it is an honor to be serving you at the State House, I would like to explain the legislative process and how constituents can become involved. 
    In the first year of a new session (biennium) a House Speaker is elected, and this year we reelected Shap Smith of Morrisville. His job is to create legislative agendas and appoint committee members, based on the  legislator’s experience, interest, skills, and needs of the committee. I was reappointed ViceChair of General, Housing and Military Affairs. Each of the fourteen House committees start with a clean slate (anything not passed in the last biennium is gone), taking up new bills as they are introduced by fellow legislators.
     One of my responsibilities as a legislator is to sponsor legislation that  can become law. Constituents, the administration, or advocacy groups may  come to me seeking sponsorship. If I decide to act, I will put in a drafting request with Legislative Council, made up of attorneys for the Legislature. A legislative counsel will then put the proposed legislation in bill form, and after getting
​co-sponsors, I will offer the bill to the House. In first reading, the Speaker presents the bill on the Floor (with an official number, such as H.1) and then assigns the bill to a committee for consideration. If the committee decides to take up the bill, and determines, after probable changes and possible consultations with other committees, to move favorably forward, the bill returns to the full House for formal presentation and debate (second reading). If the bill survives third reading, it is considered passed in the House and goes onto the Senate to undergo a similar process. If the House and Senate pass out the bill in different forms, then a committee of conference will be appointed. If the committee agrees on a compromise, the goes back to each body for approval, and then onto the governor, who can sign it, veto it, or let it pass without a signature. If the governor vetoes the bill, it still becomes law it the House and Senate, by a two-thirds margin, votes to override the veto.
    Many more bills are proposed than are passed. Even if a bill is taken up by a committee, there are many opportunities during the legislative process for the bill to not go forward. Taking time on bills that will not will eventually become law, however, is not necessarily a waste of time. Unsuccessful bills often create valuable policy discussion, and some potential legislation that looks worthwhile at the onset, doesn’t, after due diligence. Our responsibility, as lawmakers, is to not only pass good laws, but to also not pass harmful ones. 
    As each of us spend a great deal of time in one of fourteen assigned committees, it is not possible for any legislator to know everything that is going on in the House or Senate. Most of us communicate with colleagues, but often an issue moving forward comes to our attention by a concerned constituent. Thus, hearing from constituents is crucial to us as representatives. Anyone can know what is happening in Montpelier, follow daily calendars and journals, track bills or resolutions, and locate committee members by going to I look forward to hearing from constituents at 58 Hi-Hopes Road, Wardsboro, VT 05355,
​802-896-9408; or, at The State House, 115 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633-5201, 800-322-5616 (in Vermont only),     

    Thank you.
    State Representative John Moran
    Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham
Catch local VT House Rep. John Moran on 'Let's Talk' last night as part of Season 2's twenlfth full-length live episode!