On Friday September 16th, Laura Sibilia met with voters at the Readsboro Inn, listening to concerns and taking questions on her positions on various issues. She was asked to talk about the education governance and Small School grant elimination bills that have been perennially threatened by the Vermont Legislature as a fix to the property tax crisis and to talk about what Vermont government could be doing to better assist businesses.
Laura noted that all of the towns in her district have small schools, and some of the towns have been experiencing more economic/vitality challenges then others in the past decade plus.
“The number one most important factor when working at growing your town’s vitality and making it more economically attractive is the quality of the schools. This is widely understood both nationally and internationally. Losing your only school will create a big challenge in terms of being able to participate in a growing Vermont and vital economy. The real kicker is consolidation is really only seriously talked about as a means to save money,while the fact is all of the evidence in Vermont shows that larger schools don’t save money or improve quality. Consolidation is a way of doing something while not addressing the fundamental flaw of the education finance method that came from as a result of the Brigham decision. Equal dollars per student from the statewide property tax did not provide equitable opportunity for all students.
In terms of how we might better support business development, we need to recognize that most businesses in Vermont are actually very very small. And most very very small business owners are not hoarding piles of cash – they are working 60-80 hours a week, often understaffed, and are incredibly generous in their contributions to their employees, towns and state. Businesses know what they need to succeed and grow – we should listen more to what they tell us. Invest tax dollars to grow revenues by increasing marketing dollars, getting the cellular and broadband last mile done and ensuring that the hearty taxes (property and all of the others) paid by businesses result in a lower cost of doing business.”
Sibilia continues to host public and private voter events. On Thursday August 21st she will be meeting with voters in Wardsboro at the Bittersweet Memories Cafe and Bakery from 5:30-7:00.