Recommitting to Vermont, Seizing the Opportunity
How to Use the Crisis to Make Vermont Work for Everyone
Public investment in people and infrastructure is the best short- and long-term strategy for Vermont – a way to help pull us out of the current recession and build a state that provides prosperity for all Vermonters.
The best research already tells us what works. So why hasn’t much of it been translated into policy––and how can we make sure it will be?
The economic crisis and the coming change of leadership in Montpelier provide an opportunity to re-examine how the state is meeting its core responsibilities: educating our children and workforce; assuring family economic security; providing accessible, affordable health care; and maintaining a revenue structure that is fair and raises the required funds for the public investment we need.
At this year’s conference we will review the research about public investments, delve into the key reform efforts already under way, and explore how we can work together to seize these opportunities to bring greater prosperity to all Vermonters now and in the future.
The breakout sessions this year allow more time for small group discussion. Conference participants will pick one of four tracks: education, economic security, health care, and state revenue. During the morning breakout sessions, presenters will provide information about reforms being considered in each of the four core state responsibility areas. In the afternoon, the breakout groups will reconvene to discuss the opportunities that these reforms provide in both the short- and long-term to make Vermont a state that works for everyone.
Breakout session tracks:
Education: There is pressure to cut education spending. But we also know we’re not doing enough in some areas. Research shows that investing in education – from pre-school to adult learning – is one of the best uses of public funds.
Economic Security: Reducing poverty benefits everyone. When we invest in services that support Vermonters when they’re in need, we’re investing in our state’s economy and future.
Health care: Two reform efforts are underway in Vermont: one is the result of federal legislation, the other from state legislation. The intersection of these two will likely set the course for the future of health care in Vermont.
State Revenue: We know that our tax structure is outdated and not keeping pace with economic growth and Vermont’s needs. The Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission is taking a serious look at income, sales, property, and other taxes. They will be making recommendations in early 2011.