Bob Helm: Good public policy comes from sharing ideas | VTDigger
 

Bob Helm: Good public policy comes from sharing ideas

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rep. Bob Helm, represents the Rutland-3 district in the Vermont House of Representatives. He lives in Castleton.

The Green Mountain State is home to some of America’s most thoughtful and hardworking people. Vermonters deserve good policy that addresses the issues closest to them, and there is no better way to find good policy solutions than by sharing ideas with others. One way to do this is through membership at ALEC.

The American Legislative Exchange Council provides a forum where legislators, business leaders and policy experts can come together to share ideas about state policy from a limited government, free market perspective. ALEC legislative members have the opportunity to meet with other state lawmakers from across the country, discover what ideas are working in other states and learn from others’ mistakes so they aren’t repeated.

ALEC members also work with the business and policy communities to learn how state policies can help increase jobs and opportunities for all Americans, including those in Vermont. ALEC is a valuable educational resource, and Vermonters should know that good policy discussions are taking place that can help our state’s economy.

Sharing good policy ideas is smart and resourceful, and ALEC members come together to provide each other the information and resources they need to make informed policy decisions.

 

Take, for example, ALEC’s annual Rich States, Poor States report that ranks states’ economic competitiveness based on 15 tax policy variables. The states that rank highest often have low-tax policies to attract businesses and people to their state. Vermont is currently ranked last in the state economic index and our lawmakers could learn from this report to develop a more attractive business climate and help secure the financial stability we all want. At ALEC meetings, Vermont legislators can work with their counterparts from Maine to California to find ways to make our state more competitive.

Constituents expect policymakers to be well-informed when they cast a vote. ALEC memberships provide valuable policy education and the common-sense sharing of ideas. People go on the Internet to find solutions to fix their sink or their car. Students use tutors to help them succeed in school. Teachers attend conferences and workshops to learn how to be better educators. Sharing good policy ideas is smart and resourceful, and ALEC members come together to provide each other the information and resources they need to make informed policy decisions. The best part is, all of ALEC’s resources are online, so even if you’re not a member, you can easily see what good ideas are taking place in the states.

Independent thinking is integral to the democratic process, and Vermont’s motto is a good reminder of this fact. Freedom and Unity can be achieved through thoughtful discussion and debate, and using all available people and resources to solve state policy solutions is a smart idea. Good policy is not created in a vacuum, and by using the tools ALEC has to offer, Vermont state legislators are better equipped to address the issues Vermonters care most about.

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22 Comments on "Bob Helm: Good public policy comes from sharing ideas"

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Walter Carpenter
2 years 19 days ago

“free market perspective. ”

Exactly what is a free market in ALEC terms? One which is funded by the Koch brothers?

Paul Richards
2 years 18 days ago

George Soros? He is the real root of many evils! Our government is one big puppet that he controls. One big reason why we have what we have.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 18 days ago

“Our government is one big puppet that he controls. One big reason why we have what we have.”

I suppose that the Koch brothers, who finance so much of the GOP on the national level now, who help finance these super pacs, and think tanks like the Cato institute and the heritage foundation, are not the reason “why we have what we have now.”

Paul Richards
2 years 17 days ago

The fact is that big money is a big part of our politics and may be forever. Obviously we have differing opinions of what is good and bad for this country and that’s fine by me but it’s like the pot calling the kettle black when the left viciously attacks the Koch brothers for their actions and give Soros a pass just because he leans their way. He’s got a lot of skeletons in his closet. A few examples; A large part of Soros’ multibillion-dollar fortune has come from manipulating currencies. During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Malaysian Prime Minister… Read more »

Paula Schramm
2 years 15 days ago

Why is it that George Soros is the only “megalomanic” billionaire that is trotted out when wanting to attack lefties ? There seem to be legions of them on the right – who are busy buying their politician mouth-pieces & media, and pulling the country so far off-course to the right that “liberal” is a dirty word, union is a mark of shame, and “socialist” amounts to a minion of the very devil. At least Soros supports efforts to have more “small d” democracy in our country, rather than allowing the richest unfettered ability to buy the government & the… Read more »

Paula Schramm
2 years 15 days ago

BTW – unions are groups that represent the interests of many people through a democratic process.

Corporate CEO’s are definitely not democratically chosen, unless it is a worker-owned corporation. And billionaires like the Koch brothers & Sheldon Adelson et.al. are only representing their own interests.

To compare the amounts of money given by each to influence political policies as if it’s all the same thing is telling in itself.

John Ryan
2 years 18 days ago

Well, some of the “good ideas” that ALEC works for:

Stand your ground laws
Anti-union “right to work” laws
School privatization
Anti-environmental laws
SB 1070 (Arizona’s “show your papers” laws…

and so on. There’s a wealth of information about the “good public policy” that Rep. Helm wants to bring to Vermont over at http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed, and I just did a bit on this over at Green Mountain Daily, too.

Helm, along with fellow Rutland Republicans, Peg Flory and Kevin Mullin, are the three ALEC members in the VT statehouse. Three too many.

Paul Donovan
2 years 18 days ago

A study published by Governing Magazine here: http://www.governing.com/blogs/by-the-numbers/state-business-tax-climates-jobs-data-analysis.html found “…there’s no notable correlation between state’s Business Tax Climate Index scores and their unemployment rates. Plotting the most recent state employment-to-population ratios and Tax Foundation scores further reveals no relationship…”. Vermont was even mentioned: “Vermont’s business tax climate similarly rates poorly in the report. With its above-average income taxes and higher property tax rates, the state ranks 45th nationally. Jobs data, though, paints a different picture: Its August jobless rate was fifth lowest and the employment-to-population ratio was a similarly-impressive sixth highest of any state.” You can inf total state and… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 18 days ago

“there’s no notable correlation between state’s Business Tax Climate Index scores and their unemployment rates.”

Thanks, Paul, for putting that up.

Kathy Leonard
2 years 18 days ago

JD Ryan has a clear view of what Bob Helm may have in mind for Vermont..

http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/10452/alec-in-vermont-no-thanks

John Ryan
2 years 18 days ago

I think they’re trying the same thing that Campaign for Vermont does… basically try to pass off a far-right, very Republican organization as “reasonable and common sense.”

Not if I can help it. Thanks, Kathy.

John Ryan
2 years 18 days ago

They’re using the exact same tactics as that other far-right group, “Campaign for Vermont”. Use language couched in “reasonable common sense” to obscure an agenda that is anything but that. We can’t let this happen here. That may fly in Oklahoma or Texas, but it shouldn’t happen, here.

Lee Russ
2 years 18 days ago

From the Center for Media & Democracy report by Mary Bottari, April 14, 2014: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/04/12447/reporters-guide-koch-funded-rich-states-poor-states-report-due-be-released-april “The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual “Rich States, Poor States” publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state economic performance, but should instead be viewed more as a lobby scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with economic outcomes. This year, leaked documents revealed that the report is directly funded by the… Read more »

Mary Alice Bisbee
2 years 18 days ago

I am also under the impression that Senator Bill Doyle thinks highly of ALEC, which disturbs me greatly. Big business wines and dines our very conservative elected officials and fills them full of very jaded ideas! The money in politics this year after the Supreme Court’s decisions that money does not equal power is a very poor omen for our future.

John Ryan
2 years 18 days ago

Mary, I’d be surprised if Doyle, being a Republican of the old-school-not-crazy variety, was working with ALEC. As I pointed out above in the comments, and in my article at GMD, there are only three ALEC members in the VT leg, Flory, Helm, and Mullin, all Repubs from Rutland.

John Fairbanks
2 years 16 days ago

ALEC: we just want to offer our perspective, said the Spider to the Fly.

Ron Pulcer
2 years 16 days ago

Rep. Helm, Regarding your opening paragraph: “The Green Mountain State is home to some of America’s most thoughtful and hardworking people. Vermonters deserve good policy that addresses the issues closest to them, and there is no better way to find good policy solutions than by sharing ideas with others. One way to do this is through membership at ALEC.” Yes, Vermonters are thoughtful and hardworking folks, I agree. I also agree that Vermont citizens deserve “good policy”. So, to what extent do you rely on ideas generated at ALEC events or ALEC model legislation, in comparison to ideas generated by… Read more »

Lee Russ
2 years 16 days ago

It’s worth knowing that ALEC’s bylaws specify that the duties of State Chairmen include “working to ensure introduction of model legislation.” [ALEC bylaws section 10.03]

Walter Carpenter
2 years 16 days ago

“So I think since you brought up ALEC, that transparency about Vermont ALEC”

Thanks for this, Ron. I like the idea about transparency for alec sponsored legislation since they like to operate in secrecy. Who funds them? Who many laws or sponsored bills have been influenced by ALEC? We want to know. We want transparency:)

John Fairbanks
2 years 16 days ago

It is likewise worth asking how many representatives with opposing points of view are invited to ALEC’s “forum.” ALEC is a vehicle for wealthy, conservative people to push their agendas (largely, cut taxes and regulation, attack unions, and similar items that have long been the agenda of big business) through the political and policy-making process. Hey, they’re entitled to do that, but let’s not pretend they actually exist to provide a forum for vigorous public debate.

John Fairbanks
2 years 13 days ago
John Fairbanks
2 years 13 days ago
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