On January 19, the Vermont AFL-CIO labor union hosted a virtual panel discussion, in which they answered questions from members of Vermont Interfaith Action, a left-leaning faith-based, political action group.
President Biden did a pretty good job on his inaugural address. His theme was unity, and his speechwriters decorated it with lots of good words like hope, truth, honor, respect, tolerance, goodness, faith, and of course democracy. He also listed half a dozen of the great causes he intends to address, which left me a bit apprehensive.
The Vermont Tax Structure Commission released its 180 page draft report to the legislature, and one of the major recommendations it makes is to expand Vermont’s 6% sales tax, currently limited to goods and a few singled out services such as ski rentals, to everything but healthcare, and to reduce the overall rate to 3.6%.
A discouraging report from the American Enterprise Institute finds that the expenditure of billions of new dollars on public education has done almost nothing to close the reading and math gap between higher- and lower-income students. Maybe we should be looking for more promising alternatives.
The Peterson Foundation, that tracks government spending, recently came up with a surprising result.
There was more testimony in the virtual State House this week about the recent election, this time in the House Government Operations Committee, from several Town Clerks. Though the bulk of their comments were positive, a number of clear and present dangers regarding mail in voting and fraud were exposed in the questioning.
Three weeks ago I wrote a commentary titled “Goodbye to TCI”, the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Only three of the intended 12 state governors agreed to sign on to this regional gas and diesel fuel tax scheme. Gov. Scott was a notable non-signer, because he didn’t see much merit in slapping motor fuel taxes on Vermonters in the middle of a pandemic.
At the January 14 meeting of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Senator Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) asked Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, about a woman arrested for election fraud in Texas. The story in question involved on Raquel Rodriquez who was caught engaging in "election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail and unlawfully possessing an official ballot.” Collamore wanted to know if similar actions, if they occurred in Vermont, could be detected and prosecuted.