New laws and tax rates go into effect

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(Host) It’s a new year for Vermont state government and that means new budgets, tax rates and laws are going into effect today.

In the new budget, the state will spend $4.7 billion over the next 12 months.

To raise that money, some new tax rates are going into effect.

Those tax rates might be lower, but they’ll raise more money because of higher property values.

Education tax rates, for example, are going down.

The statewide property tax for Vermonters is dropping eight-and-a-half percent to 87 cents.

And the rate for businesses and vacation homes is down 5.5% percent to $1.36.

State bureaucracy is changing in the new year with an old department of state government becoming a department again. The Department of Mental Health is back. It was folded into the Health Department three years ago.

New death and leave benefits go into effect for members of the Vermont National Guard.

Survivors of Guard members who die on active duty can qualify for a $50,000 benefit.

Guard members get 15 days leave from their regular jobs for drills, training or temporary duty.

And there’s an expansion of the medical marijuana law, which backers say will allow more people to use marijuana to relieve symptoms of more diseases.

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