10-28-13 – An Unprinted Response to Rutland Herald Op-Ed

James Hall sent the following letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald in response to an op-ed by Paul Cillo of the Public Assets Institute, Smart Investments Will Move Vermont Forward. As of this posting, the Herald has not printed Hall’s letter.
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To The Editor:
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In reading Paul Cillo’s piece in the Sunday edition [of the Rutland Herald], it was striking in the information omitted from that commentary. In the first place, we are in a much different time now than was the case back when Gov Snelling took office the second time in 1991.The tax base was much different then, in particular, because there was more industry in Vermont that paid very good wages.There was the machine tool industry in Windsor County, and in Rutland there was Tam-Brands, Mal Tool, Moore Business, Metro Mail all of which paid decent wages. All of the above have made the exit, largely because of state policy, and the failure to be friendly to any business that wants to gain permits to open in place of those who left. With the loss of such, as noted above, there has been an influx of sandwich shops, pizza shops, deli operations, all of which are serving a need, but at the expense of the higher end restaurants.
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Over the last few years, Rutland has seen three of those restaurants close.Policy at the state level has created a situation where the tax base cannot support a government of the type that was in place in Dick Snelling’s time. Being everything to everybody is not an option in the economy of 2013, here in Vermont. Yet, our legislators, and the state government folks that are supposedly working for our best interests, carry on as though nothing has changed in the last twenty years.
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In summary, Vermont cannot support a government that continues to grow and grow, because the population base has become largely retired folks on fixed incomes. I think Gov Shumlin understands this, but for whatever reason, he does not act the part. People in local government do get it, however, because municipal budgets have been a reflection of what taxpayers can afford for several years. I know this for sure, because I had a hand in building budgets for Rutland Town for six years.
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For starters, the legislature should take a serious look at the education department and human services agency, do a bottom-up review, and deliver those services commensurate with the ability of the tax base to pay the bill. Continuing to do business as usual, as Mr. Cillo seems to advocate, is not sustainable, and not a reasonable option, unless the goal is to drive more people out of Vermont. Time will tell.Being everything to all cannot continue.
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– James B. Hall

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peg November 6, 2013 at 2:09 am

My husband and I, both born and raised in VT, have left and doubt that we will ever return to our Vermont, because our VT is not what VT is not a “way of life” anymore. The state has slowly been eaten by politicians, past and present, and since there aren’t any real statesmen left to step up and fight for the freedoms and liberties our parents and grandparents fought and died for, VT will be a fond memory of a time gone by for many. When folks ask us where we are from I am ashamed to admit I am from VT and I hedge a bit before I answer to hope they have forgotten the question. Vermont is not a place of pride anymore, but of embarassment at the lack of common sense that rules the tides of change. Vermont is a petri dish. I am afraid of what will come next and for all those left behind who can’t leave.

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laurel laframboise November 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Rutland Herald, like most papers, has a word count limit of 250 words. If you go over it, you won’t get printed.

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