FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 14, 2021 (updated 6/24/2021)
Campaign for Vermont (CFV) has long been an advocate for pension reform. After nearly a decade of obstinance, to our surprise, this year the legislature took the first steps towards meaningful action. While they passed on addressing benefits in the 2021 legislative session, they did set aside pre-funding for pensions and created a task force to look at benefits and bring back recommendations this Fall. We fully expect that the legislature will pass meaningful pension reform early in 2022 that balances our commitment to public employees and the liability for taxpayers. This is a critical balance to strike.
CFV has been committed to government transparency, ethics, and open government officials. In this light, we were curious what conflicts of interest legislators might have when it comes to pensions and how those conflicts might impact a legislator’s opinion or voting preference on a pension bill. The bill passed this year does allow for several legislators to serve on the summer task force and we are hoping this work will shed some light on who should and should not serve in that capacity.
In response to these questions, CFV conducted research on all 180 legislators, digging through legislative bios, candidate websites, financial disclosure forms, and campaign finance filings. We discovered that nearly one in every three legislators have some sort of conflict when it comes to Vermont’s public pension systems, however, in the Senate that number rose to one in two. In addition to not serving on the task force, some legislators also have conflicts great enough that should preclude them from voting.
The full results of Campaign for Vermont’s research and a full list of recommendations can be found at CampaignForVermont.org/ethics.