2018 Current Issues

Here is a brief framing of the issues.  I would love to know if these are issues which you feel are important as well.  More detailed positions coming.  

 

Public Education Financing - Vermont spends more per pupil than most every other state but has a limited tax base to support it, resulting in a relatively high statewide property tax to pay for it.  While Vermont consistently ranks in the top 10 states in terms of educational outcomes, the increase in per pupil spending has not resulted in better results, particularly among students from lower income homes. 

Clean Water - The state is required by the federal government to reduce the flow of pollutants into our waterways, a 20 year commitment estimated to cost $2.3 billion, with approximately $1.1 billion in existing funding, and a gap of $1.2 billion without a dedicated revenue source to pay for it ($60 million per year).  

Rural Economic Development - Other than the Northwest part of the state and a couple of pockets of economic activity, rural Vermont continues to struggle economically. 

Worker Shortage - Skills Gaps - There are not enough workers to fill open and anticipated job openings at Vermont companies.  

Global Competition - Vermont’s regulatory and tax environment are not favorable to many companies with a global or national footprint.  

Telecommunications Coverage - The lack of hi-speed internet and reliable cell phone service in many areas are real obstacles to doing business and meeting individuals’ expectations of services.   

Government Operations

  • 2 year terms for statewide office holders are too short to follow through on policy initiatives and cause needless spending on political campaigns.  
  • The pension liability for state employees and the state teachers retirement fund is over $1.3 billion. 
  • The rules written by agencies and departments to implement laws passed by the legislature often create undue burdens on individuals, municipalities and businesses.  

Marijuana Legalization - The limited legalization of recreational marijuana use does not generate any funds for enforcement or education, possibly leading to more widespread use of marijuana.