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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Can we join forces with New Hampshire?

Originally published in The Commons issue #195 (Wednesday, March 20, 2013).

The wringing dry of the Vermont taxpayer is not the way to encourage new business ventures or our children to stay in this state.

When I was the chair of the Vernon Selectboard, we had a slogan: “Maintain or improve service while decreasing cost,” an edict that might appear contradictory, but it is not.

As a volunteer EMT and past chair of Vermont EMS District 13, I know how we and other states manage emergency medical services. New Hampshire and Vermont EMS are not very different in their respective views of education, background checks, testing, licensure, and provision of services — both states strive to do nearly the exact same tasks.

The quality of service would be maintained, but costs would be reduced, if all of the tasks were shared by combined staffs in both states.

Now, think about the cost savings if the same idea of staff consolidation is implemented for EMS and fire and police departments. For example, Vermont could shut down the Vermont Police Academy and have one or two instructors at the New Hampshire State Police Academy to instruct cadets on Vermont law. This would allow Vermont to send new officers nearly any time during the year and current officers to receive timely continuing education unit hours.

Vermont needs to focus on expense reduction, not generating new taxes, or businesses and individuals will continue leaving when they cannot make a profit or survive on a fixed income.

This example of efficiency of county/state government might go against the grain of Vermonters and how they view self-rule. But if we do not change how we spend money, Vermont will not survive the heavy tax burden that is looming on the horizon.

Mike Ball


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