Treasurer candidates disagree on bonded debt level

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(Host) The two major party candidates for state treasurer disagree about the possibility of increasing the state’s bonded debt level next year.

Speaking Thursday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Republican candidate John LaBarge said he would not consider raising the level above its current limit of $39 million for any reason:

(LaBarge) “You have to remember that our bonded indebtedness is a mortgage on our children. And we spent the last 10 years in the Legislature with a capital bill trying to reduce it from $83 million down to where it is now, down to about $39 or $43 million in any given year. And I just don’t think – given the total picture of our economic viability in this state right now, our economic picture – that we should raise that bonded indebtedness above $39 million.”

(Host) Democrat Jeb Spaulding says he would consider raising the limit if a panel of experts concluded that making additional investments to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure would help boost economic development efforts:

(Spaulding) “I’m not coming to a conclusion about whether we should or we shouldn’t. I think it’s too rigid to say, ‘I don’t need to talk to anybody, I’m just telling you we ought to stick to $39 million.’ What I’m looking at is a situation where we know it’s an increasingly competitive world out there. We know that the cost of money is at a very low point right now and we know that we need to be considering whatever kind of creative options we can come up with, without jeopardizing our credit rating.”

(Host) Spaulding also says he’d like to see the state of Vermont join with other states that are working together to fight corporate fraud in state pension investments.

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