(802) 479-2420 panthony@leg.state.vt.us

My  Priority is to lobby for fulsome recovery support here in my district: Barre.  The broad focus is to cover the shortfall in property tax collections attributable to flood  damage.  And recoup the emergency expenditures Barre made during and right after July 10th. Our city stepped in to clear roads, collect debris, pump basements for weeks before any state or federal emergency effort arrived in Barre. Overtime and contractor hiring was expensive and crucial under these emergency circumstances.

The content of necessary aid includes substituting other monies for the city education tax revenues which in normal times are sent to VT tax department.  Additionally, focus on Barre municipal tax collections shortfall which funds our operations, delivery of municipal services.  That shortfall –over a million dollars– will take years to restore.  In the rebuilding period, especially for the north end, property tax collections will remain far below necessary to fund current services.  The Council has already pared down budgeted operating expenditures. Neither tax hikes nor borrowing are sufficient or a fair strategy  to alter this reality.

Heavy rain comes from climate change.  I have supported efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.  The additional longer term task is to expand storm water  collection capacity, and the movement of water flow through our city.  No question the Stevens Branch has become more re-engineered than natural,  and   as such that water course has to be maintained, and where  possible expanded. Obstructions have to be removed,  or re-engineered, and dredging has to become routine..

Broader social needs I have supported are home-ownership based construction of new units.  Re-visiting proposals to create  family and medical leave is wise.  More of the working age Vermonters have care for relatives responsibilities.  Those will grow as   our elder population grows.  Elder care financial supports to keep Vermonters out of nursing, and residential care facilities will prove valuable state budget investments. Vermont humane services budge, especially  Medicaid  creates  tremendous   pressure on our general fund revenues.