How Vermont should use our Covid-relief funding

Dear Editor,

Common sense does not need a court of law. It does not need a news anchor or a specialist. It only needs one person. My common sense tells me when the umpire has called strike three. It does not matter what the video shows. It’s strike three. No need to bicker over the past. Let us fix the present.

Regardless if we agree with the trillions of dollars being borrowed to spend on Covid relief or not, the state of Vermont is receiving a few billion. Instead of spending it on pet projects and payoffs, we need to get our state on a stable financial footing. Two major issues are: 1) the poor financial health of our healthcare system, and 2) the retirement debt our politicians promised but did not fund to our education system and state workers.

Our healthcare system is underfunded to the point that multiple hospitals each year fear bankruptcy. As good as the healthcare professionals are, they cannot make up for the poor government management of the finances. We need to fund the operating budgets and capital expenditures so the facilities are deserving of the people.

Hospital administrators are educated in efficient ways to deliver good quality healthcare. Medical doctors, nurses, respiratory, physical therapists, etc. are trained in providing medical and patient care. Laboratory, radiology technicians run departmental operations to analyze and deliver data for diagnosis. Why in the world would we let politicians and a “Care Board” tell them how to do things and for how much?

The first thing “We the People” of Vermont need to do is insist our representatives allocate money to the healthcare system in quantities the medical community instructs and needs. We want a solvent healthcare system now and in the future. We want it to deliver top quality healthcare through the state.

The second issue to address is the deficit in our state and education retirement accounts. There is a promise all Vermonters have made to these Vermonters about retirement. I support the plan put forth by State Treasurer Beth Pierce as a starting point. We need to fund our obligations. But we also need to make the retirement plan sustainable.

Converting to a defined contribution plan going forward, as private companies have, is a must. Defined benefit plans, such as the pension plan we have, are unaffordable except for the smallest and richest of cash flow businesses. We need to look into funding, freezing, and transferring the future risk of the pension plan to a private company. At the same time, set up a defined contribution plan with employer contributions that are generously allocated.

We the Citizens of Vermont need to stand up now. We need to tell our representatives what we want. It is the past representatives, some current, that have caused these horrendous situations. It is time We the People insist on fixing them. If you do not do it now, they will spend the money on pet projects. In the end our health and healthcare system will suffer.


Gerald Mittica

Springfield, Vt.

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