The Vermont Tax Structure Commission’s Final Report to the legislature recommended the expansion of “the sales tax base to all consumer-level purchases of goods and services except healthcare and casual consumer-to-consumer transactions” (Report, page 7). Further, the Commission recommend that the legislature “use the gain from broadening the base to protect low-income Vermonters and reduce the sales tax rate to 3.6%” (Page 7). Put simply, Vermont can’t afford this.
During their July 1 meeting, the Climate Council’s Just Transitions subcommittee spent some time debating what role individual responsibility should play in the plan that will ultimately put forward in December 2021. Their discussion point noted, “the majority of work needed to in Vermont to reach our GHG emission goals will require changes by individuals (how we get around; how we stay warm and keep cool)….”
On June 9 the UVM Health Network announced the appointment of Anya Rader Wallack to a high level position. She is quoted as saying “I believe the American health care system is in crisis and can only be fixed by people who have a clear vision for reform and are in a position to improve it.” In case you are wondering who she’s talking about, she added “I have dedicated my professional life to improving our health care system and keeping it affordable.”
The debate over Critical Race Theory in Vermont has largely focused on education, policing, and with Covid, healthcare. But, in case you missed it (and judging by the very small number of YouTube views, you have) it is the dominant lens through which the Vermont Climate Council is approaching its mission of greenhouse gas reduction.
On the founding of our nation’s 245th birthday, it would be nice to set our eyes on the window displaying blue skies. But out on another window displays storm clouds. Montpelier’s decision to cancel any meaningful Fourth-of-July recognition along with our schools and our very own government promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Black Lives Matter (BLM) tells us all we need to know about these ominous clouds. Both these movements are Marxist in origin. With CRT being a derivative of the German Marxist Frankfurt School and member Max Horkheimer’s 1937 essay titled ‘Traditional and Critical Theory’ and one BLM founder on record stating that they are trained Marxists.
Switzerland is famous for its national referenda, whereby current issues adopted by the legislature are put out for voter approval. Last week the Swiss voted on a proposed law that would have hiked taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil and natural gas, and used the funds to reduce public health insurance premiums and fund green technologies and building efficiency improvements. This is essentially the current Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act strategy, with some health insurance subsidies added in to broaden its support.
Vermont’s 14 counties expect to receive $121 million ARPA federal stimulus funding, in proportion to their population. As discussed in a recent blog post, this will cause problems because Vermont’s county workers are few in number, without much experience in allocating federal dollars.
The 2021 legislative session started out looking good for state pension reform. The Treasurer and Speaker of the House were talking loudly that fixes had to be made to the teachers’ and municipal employees pension and benefits programs as their unfunded liabilities were racing toward the $6 billion mark. They put forward the outlines of a potential plan.
America has just celebrated a new national holiday, June 19 (“Juneteenth”). It was the date in 1865 when a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that slavery had been abolished in America. Actually three quarters of the states, many of them with Federally-controlled governments, did not ratify the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery until almost six months later, but let’s overlook that.