Pollina says Douglas distorts his credit card proposal

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(Host) Independent gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina says incumbent Governor Jim Douglas is deliberately distorting Pollina’s plan to create a Vermont credit card.

Douglas says the plan should be rejected because it will throw Vermonters deeper into debt. Pollina says that charge is simply not true.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) The creation of a Vermont credit card has become one of Pollina’s signature economic development issues during this campaign.

Here’s how he says it would work. Individuals could apply for the card, which would be issued by one of Vermont’s banks. And the card would carry a relatively low interest rate.

Instead of providing consumers with frequent flyer miles or some other reward system, a small amount of money would be deposited into a special local economic development fund each time a consumer used the card.

Pollina says the card will be good for consumers and good for the local economy.

(Pollina) “It is the single most popular proposal I have ever talked to people about. Anywhere from Brattleboro to St. Albans, everybody likes the idea of a Vermont credit card. And it’s just so interesting to me that Jim Douglas has chosen to attack it. It is extremely popular because it keeps our money invested in the local economy."

(Kinzel) Dennise Casey is Douglas’s campaign manager. She says the credit card plan is a terrible idea.

(Casey) “It’s kind of ironic that Anthony Pollina’s big signature economic growth idea is a credit card in the middle of the largest credit crisis our country has seen in 60 years. Vermonters do not need another credit card. That’s the kind of thing that got us into this challenge to begin with. … Now imagine getting that junk mail from the state of Vermont trying to entice you to incur more debt so Anthony Pollina can spend it."

(Kinzel) Pollina says the Douglas campaign is intentionally misleading voters about his credit card plan. He says the Vermont card would replace a consumer’s existing card and therefore wouldn’t increase an individual’s debt load.

(Pollina) “They are absolutely wrong. People are going to use credit cards. They’re going to continue to use credit cards. People are using credit cards today. No one is encouraging more debt. We’re just encouraging people to replace their current credit card … and instead use a Vermont-based card that invests in Vermont. For many people it’s a no-brainer."

(Kinzel) Pollina says he believes the Vermont credit card plan could raise several million dollars a year for local agriculture and renewable energy projects.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier

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