A Vision for a Prosperous Future
October 4, 2016
Campaign for Vermont’s vision:
A Vermont that creates prosperity for ALL Vermonters from every corner of the state and all walks of life. State and local governments are transparent and accountable. Political discourse is data-driven and puts progress ahead of partisanship. A modern 21st Century economy that bolsters environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and quality of life. And most importantly, an engaged and active electorate.
How we measure success:
Creating prosperity for ALL Vermonters
Vermont ranks 40th for cost of living in the US. most northeastern states do not rank well under this metric, however nearly every one of them have a higher median income than Vermont. This means that while Vermont families have one of the highest costs of living in the country, they rank only slightly above the national average in household income. This inevitably means less discretionary spending on goods and services, recreation, and investment in property, and retirement than most Americans enjoy.
Vermont’s cost of living is currently XX% above the national average while household income is only 2% ahead of the country as a whole. Campaign for Vermont would like to see these two statistics converge. For example, cost of living was reduced to 10% above the national average and effective Household income was also increased to 10% above the national average.
CFV believes this is possible through targeted policy initiatives at workforce development, education, government accountability, and economic development.
Progress ahead of partisanship
This is something CFV believes is critical to a healthy political discourse. Good ideas can come from anywhere, we need to be open to them.
Policy initiatives should be well thought through and have the majority of available data supporting them. Too often lawmakers take the politically expedient route or whichever option is the easiest to implement. This type of decision-making reinforces the status quo and does not open up the discussion for real progress. CFV has and will continue to urge lawmakers to set aside their political preconceptions and evaluate each policy proposal that comes before them with an open mind, no matter who proposes it.
As a measurement of bipartisanship we would look for fewer legislative votes split along party lines, at least half of bills introduced in the legislature would have co-signers from both parties, and major Vermont political parties would not make blanket statements about all members of an opposing party with the intent of forcing partisan divides.
A 21st Century Economy
It is well known that Vermont has a growing tech hub, but we need to focus on a strategy that allows for the creation of good-paying jobs across our state and retains that talent. Vermont has 42,000 college students that move into the state every fall and every spring 10,000 of them graduate and start looking for jobs, yet Vermont’s employers are starving for qualified workers. We cannot stress enough the importance of connecting our institutions of higher learning with our employer base, this includes our private and public universities, state colleges, and technical education centers. This also means providing more affordable housing for young people so that Vermont is competitive with other metropolitan areas.
A modern thriving and sustainable economy provides the state with revenue to reinvest in education, environmental, and social wellness programs that are so critical to our social contract. Without a strong economic base, meeting our social and environmental responsibilities will be difficult if not impossible.
All of this leads into quality of life that we, as Vermonters, are so proud of. The reality is that most people have differing opinions on what quality of life is. Often it is a balance between a healthy society, civic engagement, the natural environment, recreational opportunities, cost of living, and economic prosperity. Essentially it is how happy you are with the lifestyle you are able to live, something that Great Brittain actually uses to evaluate government effectiveness.
You can read more about our plan for a 21st century economy here:
An engaged and active electorate
Nothing is more critical to democracy than a participatory citizenry. Democracy does not work if the majority of its citizens stay home or do not make their voice heard. This is why CFV has chosen to be a voice for middle-class Vermonters – a demographic we believe to be under-represented in state politics. That being said, we will continue to encourage all Vermonters to be engaged and active in the political process.
CFV would like to see more attendance at town meeting day, legislative hearings open to the public, and engagement in online policy discussion forums.