Editorial, Legislative Report

Beck to Run for Senate

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ST. JOHNSBURY – On Tuesday, after serving for 10 years in the Vermont House of Representatives, I submitted my candidate petition to be the next Vermont Senator for Caledonia District: Barnet, Danville, Groton, Hardwick, Newbury, Peacham, Ryegate, St. Johnsbury, Stannard, Walden, Waterford, and Wheelock.
Running for the Vermont Senate is a big decision for me and my family, and not one that I make lightly or with prodding. Caledonia deserves the best candidate for the job, and of the announced candidates I feel that I am the most qualified and accomplished, and have a very broad set of relative experience.

I am a Navy veteran, educator, downtown business owner for 19 years, volunteer and leader of non-profit organizations, and with my wife have raised six adult children that remain in Vermont.

Energy and the environment are a passion for me. I built our family home in 2008 with a geothermal heating system – one of the best decisions I ever made.

Vermont is the greenest state in the nation, and we need to continue to reduce the use of carbon, but we can only do this as fast as technology and budgets allow while resisting the urge to use taxation and penalties as a tool.
For the last 10 years I have served in the Vermont Legislature as a representative for Caledonia-Essex, with assignments to the education committee and for the last six years on ways and means. I understand how the Statehouse works and why it doesn’t always work for all Vermonters.

I know every member of the Senate and have worked with many of them to solve problems and craft policy and statute, and on occasion worked with them to defeat threats to the Caledonia District. My experience from these years is invaluable and unique compared to my opponents in this election.

Vermont is in a precarious fiscal moment. Public spending in Vermont is No. 4 in the country, but our income levels are No. 22. Vermonters are increasingly discovering that remaining a Vermonter doesn’t make fiscal sense and we hear of people that badly want to remain here, but they cannot afford to.

Nearly everyone is concerned with how property tax increases this year are going to affect their quality of life or ability to provide for their basic needs. I don’t want anybody to feel that they must leave Vermont: we need everybody.
Vermont’s legislature is currently dominated by one party in both the House and Senate, and this shift has led to fiscal policy decisions that increasingly do not represent all of Vermont. Vermonters feel this imbalance in their wallets; in the last two years alone tax increases have totaled nearly $500M while families struggle with inflation. Vermont would be well served by returning to a balance where opposing views lead to better solutions for all Vermonters.
As a member of ways and means for six years I have explored a very wide variety of policy, from education finance to neonicotinoids, and everywhere in between. If a program is supported by tax revenue it has likely been through ways and means. This experience gives me a very broad understanding of the issues and will allow me to hit the ground running in the Senate.
Vermont is a very complex state with many established government programs that are not performing correctly or efficiently. I have specialized in examining underperforming programs and reforming them. One example is corporate tax income; I led a four-year effort in the House to make significant changes. Corporate tax liability was shifted to business activity instead of a byzantine set of metrics. The result was a simpler system with the tax burden shifted away from businesses employing Vermonters with a physical presence in Vermont to those that exist outside of Vermont. This change makes Vermont more attractive to Vermont-based employers and reduced their tax burden while tripling tax revenue from out of state businesses. This increase in revenue funds social programs serving Vermonters while encouraging economic growth.
I have significant experience in education funding in the legislature; this does not mean that our current education funding system works correctly. But importantly, I understand what ails the system and Vermonters, and how to fix it. Many of my ideas have already been incorporated into statute, with a closer connection between spending and property tax rates under consideration, and Common Level of Appraisal reform on the Governor’s desk. The good news is that our existing funding system is fixable, but only with political will. My presence in the Senate will help to cause change while preserving the public tuition system that benefits public and independent schools in the Caledonia District.
Choosing the next senator from Caledonia District is a serious matter and I hope to communicate with as many people as possible about important issues this election season. My 10 years of experience as a representative do not entitle me to be a Senator, only voters can make that decision. But my experiences in and out of the Statehouse make me uniquely qualified to have an impact on day one and I hope to earn your vote. Please be in touch with any questions.

Rep. Scott Beck (R) is a five-term Vermont State Representative who serves on the House Ways & Means Committee

Rep. Scott Beck

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