STATE BUDGET: We need to protect programs for the young and the elderly, after that everything is on the table. We need to look at personnel not based on years of service but on performance. This may sound harsh but in the private sector if you don’t do your job you don’t keep it. I would prefer not to see taxes go up, but if we can’t streamline government, eliminate waste, and get people back to work I don’t know how it can be helped.
EDUCATION FUNDING: Education funding is a big problem and I don’t feel it should be tied to property tax. I believe a fair way to fund education is with a flat rate income tax. This would enable retired people on fixed incomes to stay in their homes.
ENERGY: In my 20 years of firefighting I have learned to assess a situation based on what I see, and get advice from people who understand what we are dealing with. In using this approach, I don’t see the employees of Vermont Yankee leaving. This would lead me to believe the plant is safe. The experts in this field would be the nuclear regulatory board. I would go with their recommendation. We should explore renewable energy hydro, wind, and solar to see which is the most cost effective and will yield the most for a given area.
We need to understand the location of some of these will be operating in our back yards. Contrary to what some citizens might prefer, we are unable to run these without impact to local landscapes.
AGRICULTURE: The majority of programs offered to farmers often come with conditions that in the end are not practical. This in turn leads to added cost. We should work to improve the programs that work by limiting conditions on those programs.
HEALTH CARE: The state should not be involved in health care beyond oversight. We should get all the players together to determine a fair price for services. This would allow insurance companies to know their costs and allow for more competition thus lowering our cost. In our final days with treatments that have little to no effect on quality or quantity of life, end of life care can cost tens of thousands of dollars. It’s easer said than done but we need to find a way to control these costs, which in turn will lower insurance costs.
JOBS: We need some sort of a tax break for a business that creates new jobs. When we put people to work they pay income tax buy goods and services therefore paying sales tax, which will, in turn, offset the tax break. Jobs are only good if created in the private sector. Government jobs only cost us money adding to our tax burden. The people of Vermont need to understand that not all jobs created will be “green jobs,” however, they should be as environmentally friendly as possible.