2017 Campaign for Vermont Legislative Priorities

Friday December 30, 2016

Campaign for Vermont Prosperity will advocate for a number of reforms during the 2017 legislative session that we believe lay the groundwork for a prosperous future for ALL Vermonters. In 2017 we will ask the Vermont lawmakers to consider the following items, and provide expert testimony, research, and data supporting each:

1. Ethics reform: create a more transparent and accountable state government

a. Establish an independent ethics commission with members nominated by both executive and legislative branches of government as well as the business and not for profit sector.
b. Comprehensive conflict of interest statutes that outline best practices for the conduct of public officials.
c. Revolving door prohibition on public officials leaving office to work in industries they regulated within one year.
d. Disclosure requirements for public officials as a prerequisite for taking office.

2. Education reform: preservation of school choice and restoration of local control over education.

a. Repeal mandate in Act 46 that all school districts in Vermont must propose a plan to reach an enrollment of 900 students to the State Board of Education by 2019.
b. Create an alternative or preferred structure under the Act 46 framework that models a side-by-side merger between operating and non-operating school districts within a Supervisory Union.
c. Mandate that if the legislature has not approved a yield amount by January 31st of each calendar year than the Commissioner of Taxes’ recommended yield amount becomes law. This allows local towns to know what their education tax rates will be before town meeting and allows for the inclusion of local education tax rates in town meeting ballot language.
d. Review the rule-making authority of the State Board of Education. Recent actions taken by the board indicate a break with legislative intent of current law and a direct assault on school choice and local control of education.
e. Look into other ways of incentivizing school districts to work together that do not include consolidation or uniformity of deliverance systems. One specific recommendation to look at is a concept of multi-campus high schools within a Supervisory Union that can specialize to act as magnet schools.
f. Re-evaluate the current education funding system as it is subsidizing larger towns that impact the statewide education tax rate. This system may not be meeting the equity requirements of the Vermont Constitution and the Brigham Decision.

3. All-Payer Waiver

a. Monitor legislative activity supporting or opposing All-Payer waiver.
b. Monitor and assess progress in the All-Payer ACO development process to determine long-term viability and cost saving potential.

4. Transparency in State IT contracts

a. Make state contract bids public after bidding has been completed. Currently they are only available through a FOIA request.
b. Investigate the state contract bidding process to ensure transparency.
c. State contracts are often awarded to the largest contractor bidding on a project which is almost exclusively from out of state. Vermont should evaluate our contract bidding process to ensure our local businesses have a level playing field. For example requiring that at least one in-state company be considered in the contracting process.
d. Ask all departments to evaluate their IT bidding process to determine if industry best practices are being followed. Specific to IT projects: RFP’s are often too narrow to sufficiently take advantage of all current technologies available and may – in some cases – even target a specific contractor in the bidding process.

5. Results Based Accountability

a. In 2016 the legislature formed a committee on government accountability (GAC) asking for a report with recommendations on how to modernize and measure the resources and impact of programs in state government with the goal increasing accountability for public dollars. This report is due in January 2017.
b. Monitor discussion around the GAC report and assist with moving legislation forward that creates more accountability for state programs.

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