Letter to the editor: Diversity of thought needed in Montpelier
Last November, almost anyone running for office in Vermont was reminded as to just how intolerant the electorate has become. Anyone with an R next to their name, unless running unopposed, was summarily voted out of office. We now have 43/150 Republicans in the State House and 6/30 Republican State Senators. We suffered a loss in diversity of thought as a direct result. Many on the Left have historically voted for a fiscal conservative at the helm, arguing that this prevented our legislative body from balancing our annual budgets with tax increases. In this regard, Governor Scott has done fairly well in keeping overspending to a minimum.
But the quest to attain economic equality and social justice for all Vermonters through legislation persists. Our list for what we want is ever growing. We want to take care of global causes for our existential threat with the imposition of a local carbon tax, even though Vermont and Alaska are the only two states with positive carbon footprints. We want to clean up Lake Champlain with costly indirect approaches, rather than employing less costly direct methods. We want marijuana for all, using the argument that it is healthy and safe. And we naively count on increased tax revenues, will no downside.
One need only turn to Colorado to know that the expected increase in tax revenues is lost to the black market. But the greatest offsets incurred are with loss of lives. This persistence in spending comes at such a cost that the breaking point will be reached. Before we spend ourselves into oblivion, we need to crawl back from the precipice and take a rational approach.
Our current unemployment is at an all-time low of 2.5 percent. We can’t do any better. Vermonters are maxed out. Yet our largest tax, our property taxes, is at an all-time high and it keeps increasing. And since approximately 80 percent goes toward education, this will keep increasing as our student to teacher ratio keeps dwindling.
So long as our legislature is convinced that they are doing the state electorate’s bidding by keeping evil big business out of Vermont, this will increasingly get worse, not better. Families with children will not be coming to Vermont. They will continue the trend of moving for employment to other states that are business friendly. “Forbes” magazine rated Vermont as the 47th least business-friendly state in 2018. Native Vermonters can’t afford to live here and are moving out of the state that for generations before have called home. Our net population has stagnated over the last two decades. Again, we are maxed out.
So, this comes full circle as to why Vermont needs diversity of thought in Montpelier. You have won this battle but be careful of what you wish. The time will come when you must move out because it is too expensive to live here. Voting Republicans out of office because you hate our President is just shooting yourself, our children, and our grandchildren in the proverbial foot.
Mark A. Nelson of Bristol
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