Pearce Focuses on Clean Energy Finance at Ceres Conference

Beth recently attended the Ceres Annual Conference and took part in a series of workshops on clean energy investment opportunities and corporate engagement on climate change issues. At the conference, Sister Patricia Daly, long-time shareholder advocate and executive director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment was awarded the sixth-annual Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. Sister Pat has been a leader in socially responsible investing for more than 35 years. Vermont is honored to work with her and others CERES members on shareholder advocacy and sustainable investments.

Pearce partners with AARP VT to protect seniors’ pensions

Beth believes that consumers should be protected from predatory practices – especially those that threaten retirees with misleading schemes. That’s why she partnered with AARP Vermont, the Shumlin administration and legislative leadership to support legislation to prohibit companies from targeting citizens’ pension income for cash advances. “To me it’s about doing the right things for our retirees and doing the right thing for the state of Vermont and I’m very proud that we were able to support this bill,” Beth explained moments before Governor Shumlin signed the bill into law.

The law developed by AARP Vermont and the House and Senate economic development committees creates a regulatory framework to prohibit pension lenders from making unfair loans. Organizations that make pension loans are thus be subject to the Fair Lending Act, which limits the charges and interest rates a loan-making entity may procure from an individual. As a result, pension lenders are now subject to regulation and enforcement actions by the State of Vermont.

AARP Vermont Director Greg Marchildon hailed the new law as “a great example of lawmakers, state government and advocates coming together to shut the door on a questionable practice before it becomes a real problem for our older residents.”

Click here to learn more about this first in the nation law and how it may improve the lives of consumers in other states.

New Proposal to Make State Buildings More Green, Save Dollars

Governor Shumlin announces the proposed $8 million financing plan.
Governor Shumlin announces the proposed $8 million financing plan.

Beth submitted a proposal to finance up to $8 million of efficiency improvements in State buildings, modernizing aging building stock to save Vermont taxpayers millions and cut the State’s annual carbon emissions by 5-10%. The plan was announced by Governor Shumlin at a February 26 press conference including administration officials, House Speaker Shap Smith, Representatives Willem Jewett, Alice Emmons and Mary Hooper, and Efficiency Vermont’s George Twigg.

The proposal, which requires legislative approval, authorizes the Treasurer to use up to $8 million of the State’s unrestricted cash to capitalize a revolving fund for the purposes of making the State’s buildings more green. A portion of the return on investment will be reinvested in the fund, growing the initial $8 million dollars to finance new improvements. Additional dollars generated will be applied to pay down the balance of the Treasurer’s initial capitalization.

To learn more about how this financing plan can save taxpayer dollars and bring the State of Vermont’s offices up to 21st century standards, click here to view coverage from WPTZ, or here to learn more from VTDigger.