John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.
The Vermont legislature has entered the final four weeks of its 2015 session. The House has passed its appropriations, tax and health care “reform” bills, and the Senate is now well along in its consideration of those measures.
Ethan Allen Institute
Last Friday the Vermont House completed deliberations on a fiscal year 2016 general fund budget and an associated tax package. The appropriations committee, after months of intense work and no little agony, produced a budget that covers a $113 million deficit.
Single payer health care taxes are gone – for now – but there’s another hot idea in Montpelier for a new tax – the carbon tax. It’s being promoted by “Energy Independent Vermont”, a coalition led by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the Conservation Law Foundation.
Vermont Gov. Shumlin (D) and the legislative leadership have recently discovered that Vermonters are really, really unhappy about ever rising school property taxes.
The Vermont administrative state is again on the march.
Now that the 2014 state elections are over, it’s worth looking at how the process might be improved in the future. Here are four proposals.
Vermonters moan about their steadily rising education property taxes, especially as the number of students continually decreases. Rarely do citizens focus clearly on the causes of rising school taxes, and the possible solutions. That is, in part, because the “education stakeholders” are ever alert to control the agenda for “reform”.
From 1906 to 1951 the Springfield, Vt., municipal gas plant converted coal to gas and piped it to homes throughout the village. In that latter year liquid propane became a much better option, so grinding and heating coal was discontinued. Left behind was a bunch of contaminated structures, pipes and buried barrels of coal tar mixed with various environmentally nasty byproducts.
Vermont's biennial legislative session has just concluded, and it was a banner year for Vermont’s version of advanced liberalism. Consider these features:
Ethan Allen Institute
The heavily Democratic Vermont House has passed a bill (H.889) designed to squeeze out enough new dollars to keep the Education Fund solvent for 2015. Republicans voted No on the higher education property tax rates, and their state chairman declared that the Democrats’ passage of the bill was a “cold and callous action”.