The midterm elections are taking place today. Raising issues of concern in an open and respectful dialogue is an inherent beauty of our pluralistic society. We are all eagerly anticipating the results.

As we look at the new make-up of the General Assembly, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the potential that the “law of unintended consequences” can have as it applies to legislation that will be considered in 2019.

The Central Vermont Chamber recognizes that government has a responsibility to support and protect all citizens. The Chamber is cognizant of the fact that government has a direct role to play in creating a climate that is conducive to growing the economy.

In order to create a climate that encourages business expansion and responsible growth, The Chamber supports efforts to grow our state that recognize the inherent beauty and culture that is Vermont.

We believe that enactment of legislation reflective of The Chamber’s public policy positions will help to promote economic development, business growth and expansion and lead to good, high paying jobs for all Vermonters. The following are The Chamber’s positions on a variety of issues that affect all of us, not just the business community.

Budget and taxes

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Promote economic growth.

Do not disproportionately burden the business community or one business sector.

Limit state government growth to no more than the historic rates of annual inflation.

Reduce corporate taxes to encourage private sector growth.

Rely exclusively on property taxes to fund local government.

Oppose the imposition or expansion of Local Option Taxes.

Health care

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Maintain and expand personal choice and responsibility regarding health care costs.

Bring transparency to health care pricing.

Promote efficiency throughout Vermont’s health care system.

Energy

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Encourage reliable and affordable electricity and fuels for heating and transportation.

Ensure rates that are competitive and are cognizant of the cost to businesses of all sizes.

Encourage energy conservation and use of renewables without shifting costs.

Support local control over siting renewable energy sources.

Permitting/Act 250 Reform

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Simplify and streamline the permitting process.

Create a permit process that is timely, more predictable and less subjective.

Reduce the numbers of appeals, and reimburse the prevailing party for direct and indirect costs.

Transportation

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Recognize that many forms of VT transportation infrastructure are vital to the Vermont economy.

Support the use of transportation funds exclusively for transportation projects.

Ensure that the transportation fund is supported by all modes of motorized transportation.

Expand private sector reliance to deliver transportation projects more efficiently.

Support creative ways to leverage federal funds to ensure that needed projects get completed.

Maintain private sector access to transportation projects.

Align Vermont transportation policies so that they are competitive with neighboring states.

Education

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Return Vermont per-pupil spending to no more than 130 percent of the national average.

Reduce property taxes by increasing the pupil-to-teacher ratio.

Provide students with the option of attending any elementary or secondary school.

Promote efficiencies through consolidation.

Business mandates

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Hold businesses and employer mandates to a minimum.

Avoid additional paperwork and reports that consume precious time and resources.

Encourage business expansion and job creation.

Labor

The Central VT Chamber supports policies that:

Enable employers to maintain a safe and productive working environment.

Support the rights of individuals to work without being compelled to join a union or compelled to pay for any part of the cost of union representation.

Provide equal pay for equal work.

Support visa programs that encourage temporary workers to legally seek employment in the United States.

We encourage the members of the Vermont General Assembly to consider these positions when issues are before them.

If you are interested in these positions, we encourage you to express those concerns to your elected legislators. More information about the chamber’s views on legislative initiatives can be obtained by calling me at 802-229-5711, or by contacting me via email at Bill@centralvt.com.

William Moore is the president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

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