Letter to the editor: Browning for reelection

Browning for reelection

I am running for re-election to represent Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate, and Sunderland in the Vermont House. New leadership in Montpelier will create an opportunity to renew state policies to build a stronger Vermont together.

A stronger Vermont will have greater economic opportunity, better community safety and support, and more effective environmental protection. Policies intended to achieve such goals must be based on economic realities, rather than politics, ideology, and wishful thinking. Policies must benefit all Vermonters rather than particular special interests, like large corporations, large utilities, or large unions. Ineffective programs waste resources. Programs that are not sustainably financed will fail to perform, especially in the next recession when tax revenues decline.

We must undertake fundamental reforms of state spending and taxation. All spending programs must have performance measures to ensure that policy goals are achieved. We can lower income, sales, and property tax rates by eliminating many special tax provisions, and any remaining tax credits, deductions, and exemptions must be audited to see if the benefits are worth the cost in lost tax revenue. The tax system must be simpler, and ensure that all pay a reasonable share.

Economic development policies must allow all Vermont businesses and workers to prosper. Well planned state capital investments in telecommunications, transportation, work force training, and water and sewer infrastructure can stimulate economic activity and improve the conditions for private development. The recent approach of awarding taxpayer dollars to a small number of profitable private corporations in subsidies or tax reductions is ineffective.

Community centered education reform can strengthen schools. Act 46 can be altered to allow flexibility for districts to choose different governance structures. The unelected State Board of Education should not have the power to force mergers and to eliminate school boards that cannot conform to Act 46.

We have made great progress in extending health insurance coverage. The state should get Vermont Health Connect functioning well, or replace it. Medicaid must be sustainably financed before any new publicly funded insurance is considered. Regulators must require hospitals and insurance companies to control administrative costs before awarding rate increases. We can push to regulate pharmaceutical prices, as the outrageous increases in drug prices drive up costs. All reforms should protect patient quality of care.

Vermont's air and water quality, natural resources, and wildlife habitats must be protected. A healthy environment is the foundation of our health, and of all sustainable economic activity. Everyone must take responsibility for preventing damage from their activities rather than imposing costs on neighbors and the environment.

I hope that this brief discussion of several proposals to strengthen Vermont demonstrates that I have the experience, knowledge, and independence to represent this district in Montpelier. I ask for your vote.

— Cynthia Browning, D-Bennington 4 Arlington


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