It's about more than just affordable housing
In the legislature during my first term and on the South Burlington City Council, I have been a consistent advocate for affordable housing evidenced with support for our Affordable Housing Trust Fund, our work with Cathedral Square on Market Street and with smart growth advocacy for the entire city. But we lose sight of the forest when we focus on the trees. Vermont has an affordability crisis from decades of stagnating population, stagnating economy and taxation policies that disincentivize growth. This stagnation has put constant and compounding upwards pressure on our taxpayers driving investment, people and opportunity from our state while driving up the cost of our housing.
As chair of the Green Mountain Transit Board, I have been a staunch advocate for expanding and enhancing public transportation in Vermont. From my service, I know we need to modernize our funding formula for public transit similar to other states using sources that fairly assess the cost of de-congesting our roads on all of those who use them. This can be done with car registration fees, toll by plate or expanded assessment ability based on regionally determined need. To achieve our carbon emission reduction objectives, we need to rethink how we pay for public transportation to make the service more attractive to more Vermonters.
Affordability in Vermont also means access to affordable goods and services. We need a healthy eco-system of business, large and small, to create healthy competition allowing low-cost providers as well as high-end offerings. I am proud that Target was attracted to open in South Burlington while I've served on the council because their presence offers more affordable options for Vermonters while drawing shoppers of all kinds to our commercial district.
But most importantly, to make Vermont more affordable we need to reduce the tax burden on our residents. This can be done with regionalizing our services, growing our economy, growing our tax base and attracting more people to our state - more on this in another post.