Vermont Digger reports the Vermont Democratic senators talking about priorities for Vermont like the State operates like a bankrupt Detroit or depressed jobless urban center. Not nice to have a scrooge sighting reported two days before Christmas!
Vermont remains a rather low unemployment state with a high level of social services and a relatively sound financial status. Getting caught up in austerian talk, thinking it must follow some silly yardstick which says it is not possible to add significantly to public expenditures really does not make sense. Responded to the Vermont Digger piece this morning, in part:
"...somehow Quebequers enjoy full nondeductible/no copay health care for all including prescriptions (also $8 a day regulated daycare services). Also, to provide the $90 million needed each year for transportation (commuter rail, intercity rail, light rail for Burlington/Rutland, walking/bicycling infrastructure statewide, increased Town Highway Grants and, yes, funding needed bridge/highway projects) costs $15 per capita per year even without fed help. (Massachusetts did begin an allocation of about $15 per capita per year earlier this year from general funds for transportation--Vermont would not be the first.) We do not have to choose to be public service poor, we can do so much more with public funds to support our citizens, improve our cities and towns and help both new and existing businesses. The Legislature/Governor need to stop poor-mouthing our status."
Vermont leaders looked at far bleaker conditions--for examples, Ethan Allen, and Governors like Phil Hoff, Dean Davis, Tom Salmon, Howard Dean and Richard Snelling. They each in their own way found a way to change the political dynamic to direct necessary resources to the challenges of the time, just as President Obama dealt with health care which most modern nations resolved over a half century ago.
The challenge today involves finishing the already pre-determined course in health care, addressing homelessness and the cost of housing and attacking the key element in energy use which involves shifting private use of the automobile to publicly supplied public transportation combined with walking and bicycling infrastructure in our downtowns, village centers and built up areas--$90 million worth of investment annually required as a first step.