MONTPELIER - Vince Illuzzi of Derby, who has served as Orleans/Essex County Senator for more than three decades, has decided to seek the office of Auditor for the State of Vermont.
Illuzzi, a Republican, is going up against Progressive/Democrat Doug Hoffer. Current Auditor Tom Salmon is not seeking re-election.
Auditor is a position that drives government improvement, Illuzzi said. "If you improve the performance of government, you will improve the lives of real people," he said. "I, as senator, have the experience in launching programs and overseeing the assets and budgets of state government. Now I will put that experience to work in an office that evaluates the effectiveness and performance of these investments we make every year to the public."
One of Illuzzi’s accomplishments is creating tax increment financing districts, like the one where Harvest Equipment and MSA Helmets are located in Newport City. Illuzzi explained the state allowed communities to issue revenue bonds to put in water, sewer and roads. In turn, the state allowed the communities to keep that portion of state education tax to pay the bonds.
Illuzzi created the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program, which provides a cash credit to companies that grow payroll, decide to locate in Vermont or grow in Vermont.
Illuzzi said given the experience he’s acquired and the relationships he built, he would be able to do a really good job at areas of state government that need to run more efficiently and perhaps save taxpayers money.
The auditor’s office is more than crunching numbers, Illuzzi said. “It’s really looking at how programs are performing and whether they’re performing as intended by the legislature and as efficiently as humanly possible,” he said. “That’s where I bring that level of experience that is more than someone who has been simply a business analyst brings to the job.”
Illuzzi, who serves on the appropriations committee, said the committee reviews the cost of programs and decides if the programs are in need of more or less money. The legislature, as a whole, is in session for four months.
“The committee gives every department or agency 30 minutes to come in and make its case,” said Illuzzi. By the time the presentation is made, there isn’t much time remaining to look at how the programs in an agency or department are functioning. “I think it’s important for the auditor to be able to pick up where the legislature leaves off and look at those programs and see if they are really performing as was originally intended and if they’re performing as efficiently as possible.”
Illuzzi considered running for attorney general. However, Illuzzi said it’s difficult to beat an incumbent in a general election and he couldn’t point to anything that current attorney general Bill Sorrell had done wrong. Illuzzi said, however, he would have done things differently.
Illuzzi has no answer when asked if he will give up his position as Essex State’s Attorney, which is a part-time job, but said he would give up his private law practice. If he loses the race, Illuzzi will still be state’s attorney and will retain his private practice.