Auditor candidates differ on support of policy positions

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(Host) State Auditor Randy Brock says he feels it’s inappropriate for the Office of the Auditor to support specific policy positions on controversial issues facing lawmakers.

But Brock’s Progressive opponent, Martha Abbott, strongly disagrees with this point of view.

The candidates made their comments last night during VPR’s Auditor Debate.

Brock says there’s no place for political policy positions in the Auditor’s office:

(Brock) “There will be those who rightly question the objectivity of the Auditor’s report and whether or not the Auditor’s report is produced in order to fit with the Auditor’s particular political agenda. I’ve taken politics and agenda based auditing off the table.”

(Host) Progressive candidate Abbott says she wants to be an advocate for fairer tax policies and she thinks the Auditor can play an important role as lawmakers consider tax changes:

(Abbott) “I’m talking about the fact that if you work for a living you’re paying tax on 100% of your income. But if your income comes from long term capital gains, from stock sales, you’re paying tax only on 60% of your income. This is basically unfair to working people.”

(Host) Democrat Tom Salmon says there may be times when it’s appropriate for the Auditor to take a stand on policy issues and he highlighted what he feels are his unique qualifications for the office:

(Salmon) “Since I’ve been in Rockingham as a Selectman, something that is different than I think my competitors, I have local experience born and raised here. I understand Main Street Vermont.”

(Host) Liberty Union candidate Jerry Levy says his top priority as Auditor is to insure that important social programs are getting all the funds that they’re entitled to receive.

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