Regional Planning Commissions Need Your Help!
Our Regional Planning Commissions (RPC’s) bring value to Vermont and help implement smart growth policies. They are close to local government and serve as a bridge between local, state and federal government. They also have federal and state statutory responsibilities in emergency management, transportation, brownfields, energy, and economic development. RPC’s maximize the recovery of federal dollars for our economy, our environment and our communities; In 2009, for every $1 in state funds, $8 in federal funds was leveraged. The future of RPC’s are uncertain, so please act now!
H.792, currently under consideration in the Senate Economic Development Committee does the following:
- The transparent and equitable funding formula currently in place for RPC’s would be replaced with a process where the Agency of Commerce Secretary has unchecked discretion.
- The Agency of Commerce Secretary would be given full authority to implement forced mergers and consolidations. The Agency of Commerce has also said that they will use this authority to force Regional Development Corporation (RDC) and Regional Planning Commission mergers and eliminate at least two regions regardless of local support for this change.
- The proposal cuts regional funding by 15% (on top of 13% cut last year)
- The bill undermines the regional planning commission system despite the fact that no evaluation has shown that this will produce better outcomes or cost savings.
- It disregards strong evidence about the effectiveness of RPC programs and their responsiveness to the needs of local communities, and it conflicts with the clear documentation that there is no duplication among the regional organizations.
- It requires competition, not cooperation, between and among regions for serving statewide needs and replaces regional responsiveness with concentrated power in state bureaucracy.
RPC’s have responded to the Challenges for Change with the following proposal:
- Outcomes, Measures and Accountability: Regional Planning Commissions want to be held accountable for successful work and have developed a system of performance measures.
- System Changes: require coordination of programs and co-location with RDC’s within two years
- Savings: increased coordination of administration and programs within and across regions, resulting in an immediate ten percent savings with additional savings identified by September 25.
Take Action Now!
Please contact your Senators to:
- Express the value of Regional Planning Commissions
- Explain concerns about the current proposal – H.792
- Remind Senators that RPC’s have offered a plan that improves accountability, has measurable outcomes and increases efficiencies
Contact information for Senators can be found at: www.leg.state.vt.us