Beth Pearce

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Treasurer: Pension funds need financing changes


MONTPELIER — Vermont’s three pension funds were battered by the Great Recession and are currently funded below levels recommended by actuaries, but the state has made some adjustments to improve their positions and state Treasurer Beth Pearce says she will seek long-term changes to the way they are financed to further ensure stability. Vermont, like many other states, has struggled to fund the retirement benefits promised to teachers and state and municipal employees. The cost of health care benefits for retirees has grown faster than revenue growth, and the pension funds the state manages saw market losses during the Great Recession. The three pension funds managed by the state — for teachers, state workers and municipal workers — provide retirement benefits, including health care, to tens of thousands of Vermonters. There are more than 8,000 active state employees, and nearly 10,000 active teachers and more than 6,600 active municipal employees. Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers look to retirement bonuses to save the state money

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration has proposed a retirement incentive package for state employees that could save the state $2.5 million, providing most of the retirees are not replaced. Monday morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed a proposal that would offer financial bonus to as many as 300 employees who are already eligible to retire, with the goal of leaving 75 percent of those positions vacant after the employees retire. The offer would be open to employees who are at least 62 years old and have put in at least 5 years of service; employees with at least 30 years of service; and employees whose age and years of service totals 87 or more. The proposal would pay employees who have worked at least 5 years and less than 15 years a bonus of $750 for every year worked. Employees who have 15 or more years would receive $1,000 for every year worked. Continue Reading →

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In victory speech, Beth Pearce celebrates defeat over super PAC-backed foe

In one of the more boisterous victory speeches tonight, incumbent Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce celebrated a win in one of the most closely watched races of the 2012 campaign. Pearce a short time ago received a call from Republican challenger Wendy Wilton conceding the race. Pearce, a former seven-year deputy treasurer appointed to the post when Jeb Spaulding resigned to join the Shumlin administration, thanks her “Vermont family” for delivering her a victory Tuesday. The race was viewed in some circles as a referendum on super PACs. The conservative super PAC Vermonters First poured about $800,000 in the 2012 elections, much of it on behalf of Wilton. Continue Reading →

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Democrats reach out to 143,000 voters in four days, say ground game will be difference

A ferocious ground game over the past four days has the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party feeling confident this evening about his party’s prospects in the two lone races over which Democrats had been sweating. Volunteers have given up more than 3,000 hours of their time since Friday to make calls on behalf of incumbent treasurer Beth Pearce and candidate for auditor Doug Hoffer. Perkins says volunteers and VDP staff made 13,000call attempts to voters during that time period, bringing the total for the cycle to a pretty astounding 450,000. “And that doesn’t include any robo-calls,” VDP communications director Ari Wengroff says. Perkinson said polling data from earlier in the cycle is “pretty stale” at this point, but that he expects the field organziation and aggressive campaigning from Pearce to have increased the small lead she held over Republican Wendy Wilton when the survey was conducted. Continue Reading →

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In Facebook post, Don Schramm hopes for Beth Pearce victory

At least one major-party candidate for statewide office, it would appear, is hoping to lose next Tuesday. In an Oct. 28 post on his Facebook page, Progressive candidate for treasurer Don Schramm notes that “many of my friends like Beth Pearce.” Schramm apparently feels the same way. “I like her too and hope that she stays our State Treasurer,” Schramm writes. Continue Reading →

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Pro-single-payer group sprouts a PAC, begins pushing statewide and local candidates

The well-funded pro-single-payer group called “Vermont Leads” has launched its own political action committee. Funded entirely by an out-of-state union, Vermont Leads earlier this summer aired a six-figure ad blitz urging voters to support single-payer. More recently, the group won headlines for picketing outside the Burlington home of Lenore Broughton, who has poured at least $680,000 of her own money into getting Republicans elected next Tuesday. With Nov. 6 fast approaching, Vermont Leads has turned its focus from issue advocacy to electioneering, launching a PAC that is separate from the tax-exempt nonprofit that aired the TV ads. Continue Reading →

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With only a week until Election Day, pols cede center stage to Sandy

A storm named Sandy may have relegated politics to the backburner for at least a couple days, but don’t expect politicians to batten down the hatches on their campaigns. With only a week until Election Day, retail politics is in full swing. And Republican candidate for governor Randy Brock today said he won’t let Sandy take the wind out of his sails. “I always get the best responses at sign waves or other events when it’s snowing and the wind is blowing,” Brock said. “People know you want the job and are willing to endure some discomfort to get it.” Continue Reading →

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New poll gives Pearce edge over Wilton

The most fiercely contested race of the 2012 elections could come down to party affiliation, according to a newly released poll of Vermont voters. A survey of 1,220 likely voters conducted in late September by a left-leaning polling firm out of North Carolina aims to handicap the political horse race between incumbent treasurer Beth Pearce and challenger Wendy Wilton. When voters aren’t supplied with party identification, according to the survey by Public Policy Polling, Wilton and Pearce are in a statistical dead heat. Asked, however, whether they would vote for “Democrat Beth Pearce or Republican Wendy Wilton,” the incumbent gains a clear 46-percent-to-37-percent advantage. The $4,000 poll, commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee based in Washington, D.C., is being used not only to tout the electoral benefits of a ‘D,’ but to show broad support generally among Vermonters for one of the party’s defining policies: single-payer health care. Continue Reading →

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Treasurer’s Race Profile: Wilton & Pearce

From the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus:






By David Taube | Staff Writer

MONTPELIER — The two most prominent candidates for state treasurer are an incumbent who points to a track record of savings to taxpayers and a challenger who sees alarming shortfalls in funds. One of the most closely watched statewide races for this year’s General Election is between Democrat Beth Pearce, the state treasurer, and Republican Wendy Wilton, the Rutland city treasurer. “We’ve got serious deficits we got to deal with,” said Wilton, who says her city’s $5 million deficit has become a $3.8 million positive fund balance during her time as treasurer. The pair’s viewpoints clash in several key areas, including pension reform, how debt affects bond ratings, and when one should issue financial forecasts of the state’s proposed single-payer health system. The campaigns also have made personal and professional issues part of the race, concerning whether it’s questionable if a top state official rents or owns a home and how much overtime is acceptable in the treasurer’s office. Continue Reading →

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Deputy auditor overseeing Pearce probe is supporter of Wilton’s

Joe Juhasz, the deputy auditor assigned to oversee a probe into Treasurer Beth Pearce’s oversight of the state pension system, made a financial contribution to Wendy Wilton’s campaign last month. Juhasz today confirmed the donation and said he’s a longtime Republican who’s also written checks this year to Republican candidate for auditor Vince Illuzzi and Republican candidate for governor Randy Brock. Pearce, the Democratic incumbent, and Wilton, her Republican challenger, have locked horns this fall in what has become one of the more contentious races for statewide office. Juhasz, who gave $200 to the Wilton campaign on Sept. 13, said his support for the Republican won’t in any way color his inquiry into Pearce’s management. Continue Reading →

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