Much has been accomplished and much more will be done. The award of the economic development and recovery grant through the Economic Development Administration in the US Department of Commerce will provide a strategic focus for long-term growth, which I believe will leave us better off even than we were before Irene.
The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce secured a regional economic development grant through the state’s Building Communities Grants program which was matched by the Wilmington Fund. I am pleased to have been able to add this additional grant program to the building communities grants program while I was chair of the Senate Committee on Institutions.
I will be working to secure changes in out education finance system while supporting the very worthy goal of Rep. Ann Manwaring to assess outcome as part of our effort to secure a more responsive and reasonably priced education finance system.
Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Ways and Means considered a proposal to require the current system of education finance to be changed by 2015, a proposal which lost on a 6-5 vote.
While a loss, it shows promise that five members of the committee believe our system of education finance needs major reform.
Sen. Peter Galbraith and I are working on reforms which we believe will reduce our reliance on property taxes by changing deductions in the income tax. It will take some time to bring the issue to the center of the Legislature’s attention, but we intend to push the issue given this year’s tax increases and far bigger ones looming in the near future.
I continue to support the work of the drug task force, a law enforcement collaborative dedicated to ridding our area of illegal drugs and prescription drug abuse and the legitimate access of law enforcement to the prescription drug database.
As the new chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, I am focused on community renewable energy development, cleanup of Vermont’s impaired watersheds, and development of flood mitigation measures throughout the state. As a member of the Committee on Finance, I am committed to promotion of a more friendly climate for business development and expansion in Vermont.