Valley Reporter Q & A, Round 2

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Aug 6, 2012 No Comments ›› Nick

Here are Maxine’s responses to the second series of the Valley Reporter’s questions to candidates:

1. What is the most critical issue in the legislature for each Valley town?

Community resiliency and sustainability.  This is an issue that challenges each town in the district.  It highlights the commonality within this new district that I would be honored to serve.

The district’s sustainability is dependent upon our roads, small businesses, schools, affordable health care, land and river health, local food production and tourism.  The economic downturn, climate change and recent flooding have created enormous challenges to each town’s sustainability in the district. I am optimistic about the opportunities these issues offer.  I am encouraged by the work I have been a part of in the past legislative session in furthering strong energy policies, flood recovery, economic growth, agriculture and land use policy, public safety and sound infrastructure. These are the necessary components of a resilient and sustainable district. I look forward to working with many of you who dedicate much of your time to this shared goal.

2. Are you comfortable with the premise and execution of Act 60/Act 68 and why or why not.

Yes.  I support educational equity. It is vital to educate our kids and have a well-prepared workforce.

The execution, while not perfect, is good.  Act 68 addressed some of the business community and nonresidential property concerns regarding tax predictability by establishing a uniform statewide tax.

I am encouraged by the recent independent Picus study:  ‘ Acts 60 and 68 have reduced disparities in education spending that are linked to property wealth and income and allowed all towns to set their own tax rates for schools.’

I recognize the concern that some towns are collecting more money than needed and sending it back to the state to be distributed statewide.

The Act’s execution is only part of the education-spending conversation.  We need to focus on other cost drivers such as transportation, need for a strong energy policy, affordable healthcare, determination of property valuations to address education costs while providing a high-quality education.

3. Are you a supporter of Vermont’s new health care law? Why or why not? How will it impact your district?

Yes.  It will move the state toward a health care system that provides the best care, giving us access to better and more affordable insurance plans while limiting costs.

It will be good for families. We will be able to compare health insurance products and find coverage that fits our family’s health care and financial needs. The Federal Act also provides for significant tax breaks for most Vermonters. These tax breaks will make good coverage more affordable.

Working Vermonters will have portability.  Insurance coverage will be continuous whether you change jobs, reduce hours to stay home with a newborn, or start a business.

The exchange marketplace will be good for Vermont businesses. Small businesses will have choices to ensure that their employees have good access to care. Many Vermont businesses will be freed from the burden of managing employee health benefits and be able to focus on growing their businesses.