In 2017, almost 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. It’s a sad reality that New England as a whole has been particularly hard hit by opioids. In fact, per capita, of the 12 states across the country with the most opioid overdose fatalities, all six of our states make the list. Much of that is due to illicitly produced fentanyl.
As readers may know, legislators recently finalized a mandatory Paid Family and Medical Leave bill (financed by a new payroll tax) that has been a year in the making. This effort has not been without contention; in fact, last May legislative leaders were unable to come to terms on what the final bill would look like, kicking the fight to this year.
As if the tax-and-spend desires of Democrats under the Golden Dome weren’t apparent enough, now these same lawmakers have introduced two bills to raise their own pay. Yes, you heard that right. Even though we’re one of the highest taxed states in the nation. Even though many Vermonters are struggling to make ends meet. And even though we’re facing a more than $70 million budget gap—Vermont’s Democrat legislators want their own pay raised, and for you to foot the bill.
Do you remember the recent hurricane that decimated 1,000 square miles of New England forest and destroyed most of Vermont’s sugar maples? Or the recent wild fires that destroyed nine towns in the state of Maine and scorched over 200,000 acres? Or the Great New England drought—the worst in recorded history?
The word equity gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it really mean, when it comes to policy-making? At Voices for Vermont’s Children, we’ve learned through experience that equity means taking action. It means understanding the larger structural forces that shape people’s well-being — such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or income — and taking decisive steps to level the playing field.
Democrats have long been the champions of working families, women, and children. We believe in a Vermont where our families and communities can thrive and where the Vermont dream is accessible to everyone - not just a select few. When we rewrite the rules so that families can care for and support themselves, we boost the economy and build stronger, healthier communities.