Letters 3 – 14 – 2013

Wringing dry of the Vermont taxpayer

“The wringing dry of the Vermont taxpayer is not the way to encourage new business ventures or our children to stay in Vermont.

When I was the Chair of the Vernon Selectboard, we had a slogan: “maintain or improve service while decreasing cost.” It might appear that this is contradictory but it is not.

As a volunteer EMT and past chair of Vermont EMS District 13 I know how we and other states manage Emergency Medical Services. New Hampshire and Vermont EMS are not very different in their view of education, background checks, testing, licensure, and provision of EMS. Yet both States strive to do nearly the exact tasks. The quality of service would be maintained but costs would be reduced if all of the tasks were shared by combined staffs in each state.

Now, think about the cost savings if the same idea of staff consolidation was implemented for EMS, Fire and Police! For example, VT could shutdown the Vermont Police Academy and have one or two instructors at the NH State Police Academy to instruct cadets on VT law. This would allow VT to send new officers nearly anytime during the year and current officers to receive timely CEU hours.

VT needs to focus on expense reduction – not generating new taxes; or businesses and individuals will continue leaving when they cannot make a profit or survive on a fixed income. Efficiency of county/state government “goes against the grain” of how Vermonters view self-rule. But, if we do not change how we spend money, “Vermont” will not survive the heavy tax burden that is looming on the horizon.

Mike Ball, NREMT-I
Vernon, VT”