Archive - Jan 21, 2010 - Editorial
That the thrust of Gov. James Douglas’ final budget address was to cut spending was no surprise. But that he chose to raise property taxes on middle-income Vermonters while seeking tax reductions for the richest Vermonters seems out-of-sync with the state and the times. Add that he continues to throw money at roads and bridges and put a greater burden on the property tax and you have ample cause for a difference of opinion on how to make up for the projected $154 million shortfall in next year’s spending plan.
If you have being waiting for me to weigh in on the paper versus plastic debate (and who hasn’t) I am finally prepared to provide some guidance. Anyone over 40 remembers a time when there was no choice when you got to the end of the grocery store checkout line. Paper was the only option until 1977 when plastic bags first appeared. They quickly became the bag of choice because they didn’t destroy trees, plus they had handy little loops for carrying. But plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is made from natural gas. And plastic doesn’t decompose for a long, long time.
Vermont’s unemployment rate in November — the most recent month for which state-by-state data is available — was 6.4 percent. The national unemployment rate in November was 10 percent, and only five states had lower unemployment rates than Vermont’s. The Green Mountain State’s unemployment rate peaked in May 2009, at just over 7 percent, and slowly declined to 6.4 percent over the next six months. Maine was the only other state in the nation to see a decline in unemployment during this period, when national unemployment climbed from 9.4 to 10 percent.