The 2022 legislative session will decide how to redistrict Vermont’s House and Senate. The best way to hold legislators accountable is to put them into single-member districts, where the voters can vote incumbents up or down. Failing that, separating the two positions within a two-member district would achieve much of the same end.
In the spring of 2011, then Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law the bill that was supposed to set Vermont off leading the nation to a single payer healthcare system. The activists rejoiced, the politicians puffed their chests, the bean counters got to work. Then, in December 2014 the three-year adventure in denying reality came to an end. Shumlin was forced to admit the whole scheme was too expensive, too disruptive, and simply wouldn’t work. So, never mind! A similar scent of impending failure is beginning to seep out from the (virtual) chambers of the Vermont Climate Council.
New departures in sex education and union-promoted Critical Race Theory in the public schools are raising the temperature of parents and school board. Objecting parents should have the option they have at the college level: parent-empowered K-12 school choice.
As the Vermont Climate Council readies its plans to dramatically reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, they embarked on a series of public engagement events to field questions from curious citizens. Here are some we all might consider asking.
The national debt is $28.43 trillion and rising steadily. Even at historically low interest rates, that can’t last forever, the Federal government is paying almost a billion dollars a day in interest on its debt. Social Security will run out of money to make promised payments in 2034. More seriously, The Medicare HI Fund will have to reduce expenditures by nine percent as early as 2026 – and two years earlier than that if Congress and President Biden enact the Sanders $3.5 trillion entitlement bill. What’s the remedy? At the very least, don’t make this worse.
A large insurance company has been flooding the television channels with an advertising slogan “Only Pay for What You Need.” It’s an interesting exercise to apply that idea to various public spending issues.
Steve Klein, Chief Fiscal Officer for the legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office, recently made a presentation to the Pension Reform Task Force. The Task Force is charged with coming up with a plan to fix the state’s public pension crisis, the result of decades of underfunding and financial mismanagement that has led to a $6 billion and rapidly growing unfunded liability. Currently, just keeping the state pension system afloat consumes over 12% of all General Fund state spending and fixing the system will take even more money. So, the Task Force asked Klein where such a pot of cash might be found. The resulting slide show was not encouraging.
The Public Utility Commission, chaired by a noted climate warrior, makes up its own criterion – “societal benefit” – and may soon use that magical incantation to defeat citizen groups whose aesthetic objections would otherwise defeat a Big Solar project. Who voted for that?