John Freitag | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

John Freitag 
Member since Mar 21, 2018


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Re: “Crumbling Local Roads Fuel Talk of a Vermont Gas Tax Hike

BTV reader makes a good point. A large part of the state gas tax revenue, I believe 12.1 cents, goes to the general fund and not for our highway infrastructure. Shifting more of the funds collected for state and local highways is indeed another option for the legislature to consider to address our pressing highway and bridge needs.
A joint House and Senate Transportation Committee hearing will be held on Thursday the 14th from 10;30 to noon in room 11 of the capitol . They are offering this opportunity for town officials at the capitol as part of Local Government Day to give testimony on the condition of their roads and bridges and the vital part state aid plays in addressing needs. Those wishing to testify can sign up at the hearing.

22 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by John Freitag on 02/13/2019 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Sanders' Campaign Spending on Facebook Ads Surges

There is a time and a place for everything. Wisdom is knowing when you have done what you can and passing on the torch to the next generation.
While here is no question that Bernie has played a valuable role in expanding the parameters of what might be politically possible, there are now younger talented people willing to put forth a progressive agenda for the consideration of the electorate.
If this is indeed for Bernie more about policy than personality, this would be a good time to step aside.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 01/29/2019 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Vermont Democrats Counter Scott With Mandatory Paid Leave Plan

Before the legislature considers adding new benefits, it might be wise to first make adjustments to ones they already established but did not fully fund.
We have a pension crisis that has recently resulted in a costly downgrade of our credit rating. To add another fiscally questionable program, no matter how potentially beneficial to some families, is irresponsible to say the least.

36 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 01/18/2019 at 6:59 AM

Re: “Scott Proposes a Paid Family Leave Partnership With New Hampshire

The key here is making a program that works and is financially viable now and in the future.
Currently our state faces a pension crisis due in large part to promises being made with inadequate funding provided. This has caused a downgrade in our ratings that will cost the state millions and further downgrades will happen if more constructive action is not taken.
Perhaps addressing the pension crisis should come before adding new programs of questionable cost.

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 01/16/2019 at 4:36 PM

Re: “Seven Issues to Watch in the Vermont Legislature

Unfortunately the most significant issue was not mentioned here. It is the under funded pension funds. Responsible legislators would do well before enacting new legislation to address this financial crisis that has the potential to undermine our ability to meet the challenges our state faces.

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 01/09/2019 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Pension Tension: Vermont's Underfunded Retirement Obligations

A few thoughts:
1.) It was not only the Governors who were irresponsible in under funding the Retirement Funds but also the legislatures who created and passed the budgets when this happened.
2.) Annual contributions to the Teachers Retirement Fund has recently been shifted from the General Fund to the Education Fund where the primary contributor are property taxes. This shift, which has gone pretty much unnoticed, is one of those costs completely out of the control of local school boards and budgets.
3.) Making up for deliberate governmental shortfalls to the retirement funds might best be made a reduction in state programs rather than tax increases. These programs were able to be created or expanded through short changing the needed pension contributions and it appears beyond our economic ability to sustain them.
4.) Perhaps consideration should be given to a small reduction to those now receiving benefits to both ensure the solvency of the funds and not place all the burden on current employees.

34 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 12/20/2018 at 12:46 PM

Re: “Vermont Ethics Panel Conflict Leads to Director’s Resignation

It is disappointing that the newly established ethics commission allowed itself to become mired in what was clearly a pre-election politically motivated hit job.
It has been well established that Phil Scott through out his long service to the State of Vermont has never benefited by any preferential treatment for DuBois Construction, the private firm where he had been a partial owner and operator.
If our ethics commission is to have credibility it must be above partisan political concerns. This is not an auspicious start and a great deal of improvement needs to be made. Thanks Alicia and Seven Days for keeping a close eye on this one.

18 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 12/18/2018 at 2:53 PM

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