Every time Vermont’s government sets out to fashion new magic, it creates yet greater inequities. Examples include the homestead exemption, the universal lunch program, universal daycare, net metering, Covid funds, and more.
On Thursday Vermont’s governor used his veto pen to strike down drug decriminalization through a proposed Drug Use Standards Advisory Board, but he allowed ranked choice voting in Burlington City Council elections.
“[H.505] includes absolutely no recognition of the often-disastrous health and safety impacts of using drugs like fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and more. Nor does it acknowledge the role of enforcement in tracking down and stopping the dealers who seek to poison Vermonters.”
Forty-two of the 180 legislators in the Vermont General Assembly won’t be seeking re-election to their current seats. Vermont Daily Chronicle asked about 50 undecided or unknown lawmakers if they plan to run. We also asked them why they think turnover is at an all-time high.
The legislative session was generally helpful to independent school interests. A bill to provide free school meals to publicly-funded students in the coming school year has passed, along with funding in support of a program adopted last year to test all Vermont schools for PCB contamination.
Republicans can look back and say that we did pretty well considering the limited resources we had to work with. Those four seats we picked up really made the difference between sustaining those vetoes this year, and getting them overturned in 2020 with the Global Warming Solutions Act.
The Republican governor highlighted using historic federal funding to invest in climate change mitigation, housing, economic development, community recovery, critical infrastructure such as broadband, and improvements to sewer and stormwater systems throughout the state.
The legislature passed the first statewide code of ethics, took a step towards fixing our pension and housing crises, and invested nearly $100M into workforce development needs. We also avoided tax increases on middle-class Vermonters and changes to Act 250 that would make our housing problem worse.
Scott indicated that when the clean heat standard policy, costs and impacts are more fully worked out, a “revised” CHS might yet win his support. That was not encouraging news to the fuel dealers and their customers who will pay the CHS bill.
The $8 billion 2022-23 budget approved by the Vermont Legislature yesterday just prior to adjournment includes itemized funding for many “new and ongoing initiatives.”
Humility will be required to admit that the Global Warming Solutions Act is a failure; courage will be required to repeal it. Neither animates Montpelier.
“Just think about this,” Scott said Thursday. “After years of debating how to spend hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, for programs and new initiatives, we’ve invested billions this session on transformative projects that will put Vermont on a new trajectory.”