Letter to the editor: Baser works well on tax law panel

The resources to fund the programs and facilities that Vermont needs to develop for our people to continue living relatively comfortably is not a bottomless pit. Our state legislators must evaluate the levels of taxes and fees required to pay for the enhancements that some government agencies want to give us. The Ways and Means Committee, of which Fred Baser was a member during the last legislative session, is responsible for determining how to most efficiently fund programs passed. Fred’s extensive knowledge of money matters enables him the opportunity to help develop and enact legislations that benefits us without additional taxation.
An example of this is the $37 million affordable housing bond pursued by Fred to help provide funds for lower-cost housing to attract and retain younger couples to live and work in Vermont. Getting this money from private investors eliminated the need to raise taxes for the project. Another area that saw Fred very active was his co-sponsorship of a bill for the elimination of, or reduction in, the taxation of social security benefits for about 40,000 moderate social security income recipients.
Another area that we need Fred’s help on is a revision in funding public education. Our legislators will be addressing this issue during the next session and Fred feels an income tax surcharge could reduce the reliance on property taxes. Last year the Joint Fiscal Office estimated the surcharge could provide a double-digit property tax saving. We need this type of thinking to make Vermont more affordable.
We need legislators like Fred to keep Vermont a nice place to live and work.
Joe Devall

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