I see an opportunity with the Act 250 reform that augments Chittenden County. It would encourage growth for existing and new businesses alike. It would also attract private equity investment while simultaneously stimulating the service industry that is in dire need of help with the current financial climate.
The budget is out of control at nearly $7 Billion dollars. The growth of the budget in the last 10 years is outstripping the ability of Vermonters to support it. Vermont has also not addressed the very serious state teachers and state employees' pension funds which are unfunded $4.7 Billion dollars and will get worse with the next report. With a budget shortfall in the several hundred million dollars this next year it will take serious examination of the budget to reduce it.
During these uncertain times, safety in our communities is of the utmost importance. It is paramount that we establish transparent lines of communication between our first responders and the communities they serve. While the system is neither perfect nor completely broken, I feel that a measure of reform is warranted. Our first responders have the solemn duty to be the pillars of integrity and fairness within our society. As your Senator, I will rebuild trust between our civil servants and the citizens of Chittenden County.
The health and welfare of Lake Champlain does not fall solely on Vermont. We need a strong partnership with our neighbor to the west to tackle the pollution problem as a whole. That being said, I feel it’s a reasonable expectation for a municipality to fix a failed sewer system that is contributing to the pollution. It’s important we do our part to safe guard this resource for future generation.
I can not support the carbon tax bill in its current form. It calls for the taxation of butane, coal, clear diesel fuel, gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, natural gas, and propane. This means Vermonters will feel this pain at the gas pump and when heating their homes. Additionally, the proposed tax rate of $5.00/tonne of carbon will increase to $50.00/tonne of carbon by 2030.
The state anticipates a shortage in revenue which lends itself to budget shortfalls in several funds, and an increased deficit in others. I would be remiss in supporting a tax levy that would further burden the already over taxed middle class. We must utilize a method other than taxation to address these issues.
I support the rights afforded to Vermonters by the second amendment as well as responsible legislation that restricts access to those convicted of violent crimes. We must meticulously review any additional legislation that seeks to further erode the second amendment rights of Vermonters.