How we can address affordability crisis

Vermont’s Affordability Crisis is real, and it is the catalyst for me serving in the Vermont Legislature.  There may be some who don’t believe it – or think it is just about cutting spending and taxes – it’s not.  An affordable Vermont is a clear vision for the future of our state.  When I think about how we can make Vermont more affordable, there are multiple aspects of public policy that we need to address.  They range from making State Government more efficient and responsive to Vermonters all the way to workforce development.

During my public career, I have had thousands of conversations with constituents and voters across Franklin County and Alburgh, and I’ve heard more times than I can count – it’s just too expensive to live here, or I love it here, but we just can’t retire here.
We can address our affordability crisis in the following ways:
Reform and Modernize State Government: Much of our State Government is built to govern last century’s needs and not built in a way to address the needs to today and/or tomorrow.  During my time in the House – I have worked with anyone willing to modernize State Government and rethink how we can do things in a better more efficient way.  One example is when I helped the Scott Administration create the Agency of Digital Services.  We centralized all information technology governance within State Government under one cabinet-level position.  This change has generated millions of dollars in efficiencies across State Government. 
Workforce Housing:  Vermont is an expensive place to live, and onerous regulations have made homeownership expensive in Vermont.  It’s difficult for young families to afford to buy their first home or even rent their first place.  That is why in 2015 – I helped establish the Vermont First Time Buyers down payment assistance program which has helped hundreds of young Vermonters realize the pride of homeownership.  We also worked with the Scott Administration in the last biennium to pass the workforce housing bond program which will help address the shortage of homes that working families can afford to own.
Education Funding:  How we fund education has allowed spending to grow at an unsustainable rate for the past ten plus years.  We need to reconnect local voters with local decision making on everything from spending to their tax rate.  The way the current system works is that it punishes low spending efficient districts and rewards high spenders.  We need to address that once and for all and help provide our children with a high-quality education in a manner we can afford.    
Workforce Development: Vermont has an aging workforce and as that workforce retires without people to replace them.  If we don’t focus on developing our workforce for the next generation and growing it – we will create a negative feedback loop where fewer and fewer workers will have to sustain the cost of State Government – making Vermont even less affordable causing more to leave.  
There are more steps we need to take to make Vermont more affordable.  An affordable Vermont is a prosperous and growing Vermont.  It’s worth fighting for, and we need legislators who will fight for that vision of Vermont – not ignore it.  Making Vermont more affordable will be at the top of my mind every day as your State Senator.  I humbly ask for your vote on or before November 6th.    
Rep. Corey Parent
Candidate for State Senate

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