During the COVID19 crisis we have put in place special support programs for workers, farms, and businesses, and we may need to do more. State investments in telecommunications & work force training should be focused on towns and rural areas like this district, so that children can learn from home and people can work from home or run businesses from home. State investments in housing and energy efficiency can also help to support the economy.
EDUCATION FINANCE REFORM
Reforms that result in lower education property taxes can support affordable homeownership & rental apartments as well as all helping businesses.
The state must stop using the Education Fund to finance costs that are not directly related to pre K through 12 education spending because this drives up property taxes.
The state should pay for the Act 46 tax incentives that reward merging districts directly rather than allowing that cost to drive up property taxes in the Education Fund. Most unfortunately, the Legislature has voted to raise education property taxes despite the fact that Vermonters are struggling. I voted against this tax increase, but Rep. Kathleen James voted for it.
BALANCED ENERGY POLICIES
Efficiency, conservation, & small scale renewable energy should be pursued in order to reduce climate change emissions. We must reform any state tax provisions that subsidize fossil fuel use.
Regulation of electric utilities should be done with the interests of ratepayers as the first priority instead of catering to the utilities.
Vermont’s air quality, water quality, natural resources, & wildlife habitats must be protected: a healthy environment is the foundation of ALL sustainable economic activity. Everyone must take responsibility for preventing damage from activities rather than imposing costs on the environment
& on their neighbors. We must prevent pollution, we must require polluters to pay for the costs of cleaning up environmental damage, & we must not subsidize polluting activities with tax dollars.
COMMUNITY HEALTH & SAFETY
We must continue to make targeted investments in school safety, the mental health system, treatment for drug addiction, funding for law enforcement, & criminal justice reform. We must also continue to support the ongoing push to get health insurance for all Vermonters and to coordinate delivery of care to improve quality and lower costs. We must hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible for their careless marketing of addictive opiates.