Time To Vote 2018: Here Are The Candidates For Vermont State Treasurer
When was the last time you thought about unfunded liabilities? Or the state's bond rating? It's OK if the answer is "not recently." But when you cast a vote for Vermont state treasurer, you're picking a person whose job it is to keep fiscal issues like that front of mind.
What's does the treasurer do?
In Vermont, the treasurer's primary responsibilities are to invest state funds, issue authorized bonds, manage the state's cash balances and oversee pension funds for state employees, teachers and municipal employees. The state treasurer serves a two-year term.
Who is running for Vermont state treasurer?
There are two candidates for state treasurer on the ballot in this general election:
- Richard Morton (Republican)
- Beth Pearce (Democrat)
Scroll to learn more about the candidates.
- Republican candidate (selected by Vermont GOP after primary-winner H. Brooke Paige withdrew nomination)
- Treasurer for the Vermont GOP; ran for state representative in 2010, has not held elected statewide office in Vermont
- Town of residence: Brattleboro
Morton was invited by VPR for an interview and to participate in a debate, but declined both invitations, stating: "I will not be able to participate in the VPR debates or interviews. I have chosen not to campaign to the degree such debates require. "
- Democratic candidate
- Incumbent; appointed in 2010, re-elected three times since
- Town of residence: Barre City
Why this office:
Pearce said that the treasurer is the only elected office that appeals to her. She said she's worked in the finance field for more than 40 years and she sees holding this office as a form of community service.
"For me, it's about the bottom line and taking care of the bottom line," Pearce said, "but also making sure that that bottom line is available to all and ... that everyone shares in that bottom line."
According to Pearce, one example of the office's "unfinished work" is the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan, which she explains is for Vermonters that don't have retirement benefits through their employers.
Pensions are another focus for Pearce (find more on that below), as well as some programs facilitated by the office.
"We are building on a program called 'ABLE,' which is 'Achieving a Better Life Experience,' which is a program for individuals with disabilities to be able to have financial security," she said. "We're working on our financial literacy programs."
"We've got some work to do in continuing our good work on pensions to pay down the unfunded liability in the most cost-effective way for the taxpayer," Pearce said.
Pearce said there needs to not just be intention but actual money to invest because, she explained, almost three-fourths of the amount paid to retirees comes from investment income.
"We need to have the discipline moving forward to continue to pay the ARC, the annual actuarially required contribution," she said.
Financing waterway cleanup:
Pearce was asked by the Vermont Legislature to put forth a financing plan for waterway cleanup, and that report pegged the cost for cleanup at nearly a billion dollars. Pearce's office recommended a per-parcel fee to help raise about $25 million per year, over two decades, to contribute to the cleanup funds.
"This is a big issue for us — $2.5 billion of tourism is dependent on our natural resources," Pearce said. "So I look at our lakes and our rivers as an asset that we need to invest in."
What to hear more from Beth Pearce? Listen to an extended interview here.
AND REMEMBER: Vermont's 2018 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.