Creating Jobs across vermont while
Doing right by the environment?
Win - win.
I don’t need to tell you that as our planet warms, Vermont will suffer. Our snowfall will become erratic, sugaring seasons inconsistent, and it will be harder to stem the spread of algae as the average temperature of our lakes rise. We must do our part to combat climate change.
I also don’t need to tell you that our economy is hurting. Bennington county has seen a 50% increase in the number of people in poverty, and 10% of kids in North Hero Vermont are homeless. Poverty is rising -- contributing to addiction and depression -- and we are at risk of leaving our kids in a much more difficult situation than we had as children growing up.
That’s why I’m proposing a Green Jobs Initiative. Here’s how it works: using $100 million of bonded capital, we put people to to work across Vermont making multi-unit residential buildings more energy efficient. These buildings are in relative disrepair -- but because utility costs usually get passed on to tenants, there is little motivation to improve them. (Until now.)
Once the buildings become more efficient, tenants will see a large savings in their utility bills. Part of this savings will be diverted to paying down the bonds -- it’s that simple. And it’s worth reiterating -- there is no need to use the general fund to pay for it.
The Green Jobs Initiative will be a win for tenants who will have more cash in their pockets; win for landlords whose property values will go up; win for our economy as we create jobs across Vermont; and just as importantly, a win for our planet.
This isn't some pie-in-the-sky plan. Vermont's own VEIC is a world leader in proving that efficiency projects like this are both good for the environment, AND the economy. And when I was working for Google out of an office in White River Junction, I was part of a team that set up a similar program in New York City. I say, now it’s Vermont’s turn.