Money Problems

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money problemsVERMONT - Although the state's minimum wage is above the federal law, Vermonters still struggle to make ends meet.

With minimum wage set at $8.73, Vermonters devote much of their pay to taxes and rising prices in other areas, such as gas prices, local taxes (due to results from Town Meeting Day) and general expenses that are always rising, such as high school and college tuition.

The average cost for an in-state student to attend a Vermont State College was $24,277 per year in 2013. In February, the board of trustees voted to raise tuition by three percent, which doesn't help students who are already trying to pay off their debts and loans. Joseph Leclair II is a financial adviser with Edward Jones, and he suggests ways that students could start planning to pay off their loans.

Students of the state aren't the only residents struggling financially; unemployment has become a problem in the Northeast Kingdom, which could cause even more financial hardship for families throughout the area.

Back in October of 2011, Vermont legislature changed the rules for unemployment, forcing seasonally unemployed workers to look for labor ten weeks after becoming unemployed. Prior to the rule change three years ago, workers were allowed to collect unemployment benefits for up to nine months, but sometimes that isn't even enough.

In Montpelier, there's been an ongoing debate about raising the minimum wage even higher than it already is. If the wage is raised, there will be a collective exhale from the blue-collar Vermonters.