Ben Kinsley

Ben has over a decade of experience in public policy, government relations, and advocacy here in Vermont. He served two tours of duty as a staffer for CFV and then as executive director. After working for several public officials, lobbying firms, and non-profits, Ben started his own public policy research and development consulting firm in 2017. Since then, Imperium Advisors has developed from in-depth policy research outfit to offering a whole suite of products and services around public policy and advocacy from ideation to implementation.

He has worked with dozens of clients across New England and is passionate about taking on intractable challenges with creative solutions – things that impact Vermont like education, health care, energy, public/private investment, and workforce development. Since leaving as Executive Director in 2017, Ben has remained on the CFV Board of Directors and continues to assist with executing on policy initiatives. He also enjoys helping his neighbors and volunteering for community groups.

Enjoying the outdoors is one of Ben’s favorite pastimes; hiking, skiing, and mountain biking are all regular activities. As a native Vermonter, he loves the state and is committed to seeing Vermont’s communities grow and prosper. 

Ben lives with his wife Kayla and their dog Pippa in Burlington, VT.

  • commented on Vermonters Identify Top Issues 2023-12-05 12:39:47 -0500
    Hi Deborah! The methodology is at the bottom of the PDF embedded on this page, but it’s a sample size of 400 with a margin of +/-4.9%
  • published Governor Eats Legislature's Lunch in News 2023-11-29 08:08:36 -0500

    Governor Eats Legislature's Lunch

    Today we announced the partial results of a scientific public opinion poll of Vermonters. The survey interviewed 400 randomly selected Vermont residents to measure their feelings towards state leaders, various issues that policymakers are pursuing, and general sentiments about the direction the state is heading.

    “What we have found is shocking. Vermonters have very clear opinions on a number of policy differences between the Administration and the Legislature. And consistently the legislature has missed the mark in setting their priorities.”

    -Pat McDonald, CFV President

    Read more

  • published It's Not Easy Being Green in News 2023-11-20 08:23:04 -0500

    It's Not Easy Being Green

    If you have read my two latest Op-Eds on the Prisoner’s Dilemma Around Climate Change and Not Losing our Heads in the face of the same, then you know that I advocate for a thoughtful and balanced response to climate change. A response that conveys the urgency of the issue while also avoiding pitfalls of inhumanity and single-mindedness. But, what does that mean? What does it look like for Vermonters and for our state?

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  • published Not Losing Our Heads in News 2023-10-31 09:10:20 -0400

    Not Losing Our Heads

    What is it about climate change that elicits such a panic in us? Perhaps it is the unrelating force of nature? The overwhelming sense of powerlessness we feel when storms, wind, fire, and water encroach upon our lives. In the face of such (un)natural disasters, maybe we clutch to whatever agency we can muster? Or, could it be that the prospect of our grandchildren not experiencing the same planet we did terrifies us. It could be a bit of both, or a whole host of other reasons.

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  • published Prisoner's Dilemma & Climate Change in News 2023-09-27 08:49:45 -0400

    Prisoner's Dilemma & Climate Change

    The Paris Climate Accords were ratified in 2015 and have gained 195 signatories since. Most experts agree that a 2-degree (Celsius) increase in global temperatures would avoid the worst impacts of climate change and that a 4-degree increase would be devastating. But how are we tracking towards those goals? Not well, it turns out. Most countries are on track to miss the 2050 net-zero emissions target. The top 7 emitters account for 50% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and none of them meet the most aggressive Paris targets. Three (China, India, and Indonesia) are considered highly insufficient, according to One (Russia) is listed as critically insufficient. The remaining three (US, European Union, and Brazil) are rated as insufficient.

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  • published New 2023 State Revenues in News 2023-07-16 16:38:18 -0400

    New 2023 State Revenues (adding up the bill)

    Excuse me, can I get some child care subsidies for upper middle class folks?    
    Also a massive helping of new electric-powered heating systems?    
        Sounds great
    Of course we also have to get universal school meals.    
    Oh, and don't forget a side of universal fee increases!     
    So what does that come out to?    
        Uh, a few hundred million more than you have in your account.
    No worries, these other folks are picking up the tab for us...    

    While the hypothetical conversation above highlights the approach the legislature seemed to take with spending this year, in all seriousness a historically high state budget (growing at nearly twice the rate of inflation) and a number of new landmark initiatives left us wondering how much more Vermonters can expect to pay in taxes and fees in the years to come. This is the question we set out to answer for you and boy did we find some interesting stuff!

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  • published Legislative Compensation & Benefits (S.39) in News 2023-07-16 10:50:01 -0400

    Legislative Compensation & Benefits (S.39) - Overview

    S.39 was introduced by Senators Ruth Hardy and Alison Clarkson in January 2023. As introduced, the bill would make legislators eligible for the State employees' health benefit plan at no cost, allow them to participate in any flexible spending account program offered to State employees for health care expenses or dependent care expenses, or both, and provide compensation during adjournment (something not currently offered). The bill also significantly increased compensation levels.


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  • published s100 2023 in News 2023-06-08 21:44:53 -0400

    Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - Overview

    S.100 was introduced by the Senate Economic Development Committee in February. After moderate revisions, the bill was passed by both the House and Senate and delivered to the Governor on May 30th, 2023.

    The bill intends to address the state's housing crisis by cracking down on municipal zoning that is seen as exclusionary and by making significant investments in low-income housing stock. Critics question the effectiveness of the bill without significant revisions to the Act 250 land use regulations to make development easier.


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  • commented on Expanding Apprenticeships (H.452) - Overview 2023-05-15 21:19:57 -0400
  • published Legislative Update - May 14, 2023 in News 2023-05-14 17:45:53 -0400

    Legislative Update - May 14, 2023

    The 2023 legislative session came to an end this week. While legislators are expected to return next month for a veto session, they passed a number of bills in the final days. These included the primary housing bill of the session and a major overhaul and investment in early childhood education. In a last-minute effort, legislators also invested in themselves, significantly increasing legislative pay and creating an entirely new benefits package.

    The budget that emerged this week contained $8.5B in spending and included a new payroll tax that would be split between employers and employees (to fund the afore mentioned child care bill).

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  • Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 10, 2023

    The Senate Economic Development Committee came back on Wednesday to review the House changes to S.100, which they did not yet possess, and the single House floor amendment that persisted with the bill (there were many other attempts to amend it).

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  • Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 12, 2023

    The Senate Economic Development Committee finished reviewing changes to S.100 on Friday morning and brought the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. Funding was still pulled out and included in the budget. Currently it appears fairly significant (over $200M according to the Committee of Conference report) but the Governor is expected to veto the budget bill so things could change.

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  • Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 9, 2023

    No new arguments were presented on the House floor Tuesday; the bill primarily deals with municipal zoning reform and feigned to address Act 250 issues, shy of a few time-limited exemptions. It focused on large lot sizes, excess parking requirements, excess setbacks, and other local zoning requirements legislators felt inhibited housing growth.

    Critics of the bill argued that municipal reform should be paired with rollbacks to Act 250, the state’s major land-use and environmental law. However, since the bill passed third reading in House with a voice vote, incremental progress will have to be settled for. Amendments were introduced to limit energy requirement that could drive up construction costs by tens of thousands of dollars, but it was disagreed to. Other amendments would have moved up some of the implementation dates, add reviews of current processes for inclusivity, and widen the priority housing project exemption in Act 250. They were met with varying levels of success.

    After passage, the Senate Committees began reviewing the bill.


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  • Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 8, 2023

    The session’s major Housing bill, S.100, arrived on the House Floor Monday. Speaker Krowinski announced they would only receive the committee reports and then adjourn for committees of jurisdiction to consider amendments before returning. No votes would be taken during this floor session.

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  • published Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 11, 2023 in News 2023-05-13 17:35:27 -0400

    Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 11, 2023

    The House Government Operations Committee reviewed another round of amendments to S.39 that would later be voted on by the House. These included technical corrections to language in the bill and accountable reimbursement of expenses instead of per diems.

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  • published Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 10, 2023 in News 2023-05-13 17:32:15 -0400

    Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 10, 2023

    A number of amendments were reviewed by the House Government Operations Committee and then reviewed on the House floor later in the day. These included attempts to reduce health care coverage to just during the legislative session, looking at creating an independent commission to oversee legislative compensation, study appropriate salaries instead of new salaries instead of setting them now, and shortening the legislative session to 12 week (typically around 19 now).

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  • published Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 8, 2023 in News 2023-05-13 17:27:09 -0400

    Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 8, 2023

    Two different House committees reviewed S.39 on Monday, passing the bill quickly to get it back to the floor in time for Friday adjournment. The bill encompasses significant increases in salaries for legislators, an entirely new benefits package, and more generous expense reimbursements. Proponents claim it will make legislative service more accessible to members of the public by moving compensation more in line with median wages across the state.

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  • published Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - May 11, 2023 in News 2023-05-13 17:23:01 -0400

    Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - May 11, 2023

    The House took up S.5 on Thursday to override the Governor’s veto of the bill.

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  • published Property Taxes (H.492) - May 8, 2023 in News 2023-05-13 17:20:19 -0400

    Property Taxes (H.492) - May 8, 2023

    Representative Beck presented the bill on the floor Monday. Major changes from the Senate involved a slightly increased average tax increase and a reduction in the tax newly-created reserve to help buffer property taxes in FY2025. In the Senate version, this fund was reduced from $22M to $13M.

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  • published Legislative Update - May 7, 2023 in News 2023-05-07 16:44:26 -0400

    Legislative Update - May 7, 2023

    As the 2023 legislative session is winding down, legislators are rushing to give themselves a pay raise and a new benefits package. The effort would bring Vermont legislative pay closer to the $31,775 median for legislators across the country. We reported on this when the bill passed the Senate, at the time it looked like the bill would likely wait until next year, but the House is posturing to move aggressively on it.

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Public policy aficionado. Outdoor enthusiast. Lover of all things Vermont.


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