Legislative climate caucus starts with a bang
Last session, I co-founded the Climate Caucus with Rep. Margaret Cheney (D-Norwich). Our goal is to elevate climate change as a priority and to try and come up with workable solutions. In his opening remarks last week, House Speaker Shap Smith mentioned our imperative to address climate change. Perhaps we are already having an impact!
During the first week of the Legislature, we held our kick-off Climate Caucus meeting and over 40 lawmakers participated. It was the best attended meeting in our history! People were eager to come up with a package of bills to push this year. Ideas included a no-idling bill, divesting state funds from fossil fuels, more park and rides, and more.
In the coming weeks, the climate agenda will take shape and we'll get a better sense of what Democratic leaders are willing to consider.
Wrong funding source for great priorities
As you may have heard, Gov. Peter Shumlin has vowed to make education a focus of the year. He promised to make Pre-K universal and Higher-Ed more affordable. Unfortunately, the only specific funding scheme the governor mentioned involved reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit. This is the most effective anti-poverty program we've got! Across the board, legislators are un-enthusiastic about tapping this as a source of funds.
More affordable Higher-Ed and Pre-K are great priorities, but we must not increase the tax burden for poor and working class families in order to make them a reality.