Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dick McCormack: The upcoming session — some of the issues

'Something To Write Home About' is a series of updates by Sen. Dick McCormack as he begins his 13th term representing the Windsor County Senate District.

Dick McCormack for Senate 
127 Cleveland Brook Road 
Bethel, Vermont 05032 
802 793-6417


Something to Write Home About 
By Senator Dick McCormack

The Upcoming Session—Some of the Issues
December 12, 2016

The coming session, which begins January 4th, will present challenging questions. (The easy questions answer themselves.) These, following, are some of the big ones.

Implementation of Act 46 has proven difficult for folks at the local level. How to consolidate choice and nonchoice towns? What to do about overly long school bus rides? Whether, and how, to preserve small schools? And, of course, the original question that motivated Act 46 in the first place remains, how to coax school taxes down. Having opposed Act 46, I have no schadenfreude about its difficulty. The task now is to make the needed changes to make things work.

Universal access to affordable, quality health care remains elusive. Since this has proven doable in other countries, I can’t believe it’s actually as difficult as it seems. I think the problem is mostly a lack of political will to go all the way and establish a real Single Payer system. I remain skeptical of the All Payer approach.

The drug epidemic continues to destroy some people’s lives and to diminish everyone’s. Our best efforts notwithstanding, addiction is rooted in the mysteries of the human psyche, and once established makes its own rules. So, simple solutions don’t work. As the “War on Drugs” has sadly proven, we can’t arrest our way out of the problem. Neither can we rehab our way out. But, that said, I think we’re basically right to treat addiction as a sickness and drug selling as a crime. Limiting access to prescription pain killers is important, but I remain committed as well to ensuring that such limits don’t interfere with legitimate pain relief. Feeding an addiction is compulsive behavior over which an addict has no control, or very little control. But starting down the road to addiction is a series of free will acts. We need to head off the first use of addictive drugs. Easier said than done.

Our revenues are chronically inadequate to meet the real needs of the people. I often hear and read complaints about “out of control spending” but in fact we work hard to keep spending down, and we underfund many important government functions. This gap is likely to become more of a problem as things develop at the national level.

In the coming weeks I will keep you abreast of how these and other issues unfold. In the meantime, I invite your thoughts on these and other issues important to you. Please call, write or come to the State House in Montpelier to let me know what’s on your mind. My number is 802-793-6417. My email is You can also follow along by going to my Facebook Page: VT State Senator Dick McCormack.


  1. Well, it seems like Dick has at least a basic understanding of the issues. Schools and taxes are a big problem in this state. Vermont spends more per student on administration than EVERY other state. Everywhere else I have lived has county level administration, with districts at the local level. Given the sparse population here, perhaps regional administration with county districts would be a better idea. Having roughly 12 students per teacher is unsustainable; 20 per class would be more cost-effective, and wouldn't diminish the quality of education. No matter how you do it, a complete restructuring of Vermont's school system is in order. As far as drugs go, I see the drug problem as a symptom of the cultural deterioration of American society; an extension of the licensious, overly permissive social culture that currently exists in this country. At least Mr. McCormack isn't willing to give up and call for legalization (as some around here are). Prevention is the only real solution; only when drugs are no longer considered "cool" will young people stop trying them. PERIOD.

  2. Mr McCormick "and we underfund many important government functions" ... in fact there are to many government functions and that is part of the problem... look how many government programs "functions" are in the Springfield area... government get out of them and taxes would go down Sir!

    1. Perhaps I should have been more specific. I was talking about local property taxes. Most of the government services that (I believe) you are referring to are either federally funded, or are funded by the state, usually with federal grants. Although worthy of discussion, I don't see any of them on MY tax bill. Maybe yours is different.

    2. We'll I have many taxes, grocery, gas, State< Town, every utility, Federal, etc etc, when we have less over regulated businesses and utilizes, along with over managed Federal and State programs, with pension after pension after pension, we ill never see our taxes go down, these state and federal bureaucrats are only looking out for themselves, one hands feeds the other, both on a federal level and state level, creating a state or federal job is not creating a job it's creating a cost to the tax payer...

    3. I don't normally criticize posters' grammar and spelling, but after reading your post, I have reached the conclusion that your struggles are more due to a lack of education, like so many other conservatives. You have no understanding of government, taxes, services, or anything else in a functioning society. You pay no more in sales tax, gas tax, etc. than anyone else. You, yourself, benefit so much from the government you hate (and the society it represents) that you would probably die without it. Or can you single-handedly build a road or a bridge, teach every subject in school, provide emergency medical care or put out a fire, ETC, ETC.

  3. chuck gregory12/14/16, 5:15 PM

    Vermont has just about the best educational results in the country. Lower the funding, and you join the race to the bottom. It says something when adults in a society value their money more than they value children's education.

  4. WOW. As usual, Chuck, you crammed more flawed logic and faulty premises into a paragraph than there are words! Throwing money at a top-heavy bureaucracy does NOTHING to educate children. As for the best educational outcomes, I recently saw a study that said that FULLY HALF of Vermont's high school graduates were unprepared for either the workforce or college. And by the way, some of us adults care a great deal about education. I myself, spent four years in college to become (wait for it) A SCHOOL TEACHER! What we DON'T care much for are useless bureaucrats sucking up the tax dollars that might have gone to, say, FEED OUR KIDS!

    1. chuck gregory12/17/16, 11:49 AM

      So, 12:16, let's concentrate on solutions rather than sniping.

      What can Springfield do to match the Finnish educational system, which happens to be considered the best in the world?


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