Campaign for Vermont (CFV) recently released an article titled “Vermont is in Trouble.” We were blown away by the response. Over just a few days it was seen by more than 30,000 people, garnered more than 200 comments, and was shared nearly 800 times.
Opinions ranged widely. Some showed full support, others called us liars. Some people gave thoughtful responses, others highlighted their own narrow-mindedness. We were accused of being fear-mongering, while also being thanked for our honesty and candor. A few people were deleted and banned for leaving comments that were outright hateful and bigoted – comments that will not be tolerated and only further our societal divide while doing nothing to move the conversation forward.
It needs to be said that the article was not about any one particular issue. It was not meant to demonstrate a stance on minimum wages, cannabis legalization and regulation, paid family leave, or any other specific issue that is being debated by our legislature. It is not an article pushing any political agenda; CFV has no party affiliation. It was not our intent to dissuade people from moving to Vermont or persuade them to leave.
The article was, and is, a statement about the need to be fiscally responsible, backed up with data curated from sources as non-partisan as possible. American Enterprise Institute (AEI – NOT EAI) has no political affiliation and no institutional position. A good portion of the data comes directly from the State of Vermont itself, taken from Joint Fiscal Office studies and other official statistical reports. We refer to articles in Vermont Digger and Seven Days. Other data comes from prominent Democratic figures. This article is not, as we have been accused of, cherry picking from right-wing think tanks to forward a Conservative agenda. On the contrary, Campaign for Vermont operates as non-partisan with no political affiliation. We openly welcome thoughtful, data-driven discussion from anyone.
The takeaway from this article should be this: there are many alarming numbers that must be brought to light and given a role in the broader discussion of our state’s financial future. Every time we pass a new tax, fee, or any other spending measure we must have a detailed and transparent mechanism for demonstrating that action’s impact on Vermont and Vermonters. This mechanism needs to look at both ends of the equation: to what degree will it accomplish its respective goal, and how will it impact the people paying for it? Furthermore, it needs to balance any new spending measure or cost increase cumulatively with all the others on the table.
We stand behind the statement made in the article: Vermont is in trouble. The data shows it. This shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation though. This is a bright red flag, a warning siren that we need to have more honesty with ourselves, more transparency, and more accountability. We must demand candid and transparent analysis, in all agencies and departments, and across all levels of government, that takes a cumulative and end-to-end look at any action impacting the wallets of Vermonters. I believe it can be done. We can, and must, work together through a positive, consensus-building process to build an economy that creates shared prosperity for current and future generations. Together we can find non-partisan solutions that result in greater government transparency and accountability, a stronger economy with more and better-paying jobs, and maintaining an unwavering commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship. We can put progress ahead of politics and partisanship to create real, positive change.
Click here to read "Vermont is in Trouble"
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