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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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The importance of our Washington conduits – Brospar Daily News

This review was written by Don Keelan of Arlington, a retired CPA.

Vermont has a pool of candidates seeking to represent the state in Washington in January. Today, they campaign in every corner of the state, taking a stand on dozens of issues.

It was disappointing that the candidates did not address the most critical reason Vermont sent its top three congressional candidates to Washington. Withdraw federal funds. Money flows from Washington to Vermont as blood flows through the body. Any measurable decline is fatal if not recovered.

It pays to know where candidates stand on the front page questions of the day. What matters is how the candidates propose to bring back the hundreds of millions of dollars Vermont needs to operate.

Specifically, how will the nominees appeal to their 532 non-Vermont colleagues in the House and Senate? Without this support for Vermont’s needs, our state could face a dire financial situation. I’m not just talking about the allocation, of which over $200 for Vermont was announced in early August.

Senator Patrick Leahy is a legend in accomplishing these feats. The money he brought back to Vermont will be remembered more than any particular bill he sponsored, co-sponsored or chaired in committee.

No exaggeration: throughout Vermont there are buildings, attractions and events that bear the senator’s name – only surpassed by his former Senate colleague in West Virginia, the late Senator Robert Byrd took him .

It’s strictly an American tradition: taxpayers pay for the projects, but the names of the politicians are on the building. Ah well it does not matter!

This may be new to some, but Vermont cannot function financially without Washington’s massive cash flow. Some forecasts put the amount at around $8 billion a year. It’s not just funding for the state, but a lot of money — in addition to Social Security and Medicaid payments — has gone through state agencies to nonprofits based in Vermont.

For example, the Vermont Commission on Aging, which has five regional centers, oversees Meals on Wheels. Before the five committees receive annual funding, the Vermont Department of Disability, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) must determine Vermont’s USDA allocation.

While this article doesn’t focus on the bureaucracy, it’s interesting (and disappointing) to see all the “hands” manipulating those four dollars and giving change for the daily premium meal.

After 48 years in Washington, the announcement of Senator Leahy’s retirement is a disastrous strike for Vermont. The second shoe fell when we heard that Senator Bernie Sanders was about to go home. Soon, 79 years on Capitol Hill will be wiped out. Where are we then?

Vermont has miserably allowed itself to become economically dependent on Washington. Even local police departments can’t buy body cameras unless they get funding from the US Department of Justice.

What matters is not where the candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives stand on the issue, but how they bring in so much money each year from state agencies and organizations to nonprofit in Vermont. How will Vermont get $100 million to clean up Lake Champlain? Or lead millions of people to build new sewer lines in Vermont cities? It’s essential.

When our representatives arrive in Washington, they will face a group of lobbyists – about 12,000 at last count; many of them will be in the halls of Congress seeking funding for their constituents (49 other states).

The people we send to Washington act as intermediaries, which Google defines as “a person or organization that acts as an intermediary to convey something.” In the case of Vermont, the money transfer.

Vermont needs more regional reports

In response to our readers, VTDigger has expanded our regional reporting team. Although our news is free to consume, it requires resources to produce. Please join our fall membership drive and support news from all over Vermont.

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