January 28th, 2015
New legislative session, new legislator, it is going to be a stimulating four months.
The governor set the stage from the beginning of the session with two important speeches. In his inaugural address, the governor focused on two areas — clean water, specifically Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River basins, and renewable energy. In his budget address, Gov. Shumlin spent most of his time on health care, education/property taxes, the Vermont economy and the numbers associated with these subjects.
The “Lazarus” building is no more. It was never a handsome bit of architecture worth preserving, but Stan Lazarus, the remarkable man who built it after a disastrous fire in the ’60s, IS worth remembering.
Earlier this month, a bill was introduced in the Vermont Senate to require criminal backgrounds checks for everyone buying a gun in Vermont. This means that people who have been deemed too dangerous to own a gun by Vermont courts because of their past violent actions will not be able to.
The staff of Addison County Vermont Adult Learning would like to recognize a very special teacher. This month marks Mary Worthington’s 35th anniversary teaching for Vermont Adult Learning. During this time she has touched the lives of hundreds of adults in Addison County helping them learn to read and write, do math, and speak and write English as a second language.
Max Kraus’ excellent letter in the Jan. 15 Addison Independent goes to the heart of the matter. It’s not just that school taxes are high and rising — even as student populations decline — but that the system is hugely inefficient and produces at best average results.
Humanity has suffered too many tragedies in recent weeks. Mass slaughter by Boko Haram butchers 2,000. Ten-year-old girl with suicide vest kills 19 in Nigeria. Bombing in Iraq kills 38. Massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine and kosher supermarket kill 17 in Paris tragedies.
Has the Vergennes Union High School board not been informed that the taxpayers are done with “over the top” cost-per-student rates that are the highest in the country that do not give results of a better education for the students in our neighborhoods.
The most challenging economic issue ahead of us involves a group that will barely be represented at this week’s annual Davos summit: the middle classes of the world’s industrial countries. As the Center for American Progress’s Inclusive Prosperity Commission, which I co-chaired with Ed Balls, the top economic official in Britain’s Labor Party, concludes in a new report, nothing is more important to the success of industrial democracies than sustained increases in wages and living standards for working families.