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Forum, Feb. 4: Vermont needs sweeping tax reform


Sunday, February 03, 2019
Vt. needs sweeping tax reform

From the governor on down, leaders in Montpelier seem to know what is wrong with Vermont, but they seem at a loss as to what to do.

They passed a law offering money to people to pack up their jobs and move with them to the state. Now they are talking about paying a $5,000 bonus to anyone who will come here to take one. Then there is, or was, the EB-5 scandal. And the governor defends the use of a permanent workforce of illegal immigrants to keep Vermont’s sick dairy farms alive while claiming that there is a labor shortage and that these workers take jobs that Vermonters privileged enough to live here legally do not want.

I am self-employed and moved back to Vermont more than a year ago. No one offered me any money to do so. I work in construction and can testify that there is no labor shortage in Vermont — just the opposite.

How benighted is this leadership in general. The reasons for Vermont’s economic decline, and the social problems that attend it, can be grouped in two categories: geography and historic trends on the one hand, which we must learn to live with, and on the other, matters of state fiscal mismanagement, which we can not tolerate.

About the only thing the state can do to help is to put its own house in order. It should do this through control of spending, of course, but also through tax reform aimed at making Vermont a more desirable place to live and do business. I favor a value-added tax on goods and services that would replace both sales and income taxes and be sufficient to also ease reliance on property taxes. Vermont must be more competitive in order to survive. Otherwise, it will become the economic sinkhole of New England. Only sweeping tax reform can offer hope of avoiding that.

TYLER P. HARWELL

Perkinsville

Claremont councilor should resign

As a resident of Claremont and member of the LGBTQ+ community, there is something I need to say: City Councilor Jonathan Stone should resign. He promoted homophobia and transphobia. He searched for and distributed personal information about citizens of our community on social media, and he posted threatening messages. These actions are reprehensible and he should be held accountable.

Some 41 percent of people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide. Trans people don’t experience poorer mental health or higher suicide rates because it’s something that comes with being trans. Trans people have poorer mental health because they are at higher risk of victimization and discrimination.

These are real people’s lives being used as a tool to put others down and devalue their existence. That is what this is about. Councilor Stone has made it known that he does not respect or value LGBTQ+ citizens, and that is simply unacceptable.

Stone may have made his online comments months ago, but those comments will effect the lives of marginalized community members in ways we may not know. Claremont has a tendency to end up being in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. One thing we need to do is stand up for our values and say we do not agree with the comments made by Stone and we do not want him to represent us. He must resign.

We must all say loud and clear that Jonathan Stone is on his own.

MATT MOOSHIAN

Claremont

Wall opposition reflects pettiness

Democrat opposition to a border wall is both disingenuous and petty. Disingenuous because the leadership has supported walls in the past. Petty because the amount of money involved is insignificant in a $4.4 trillion dollar budget. They are putting their animus toward the president ahead of our national security.

JEFF LEHMANN

Lyme Center

Pony Express needed during shutdown

I recently found out that mail to Springfield, Mass., and a bank check for my son’s scholarship fund at a community college in Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s territory, had not arrived after 14 days.

I called my bank and learned that the delays were “because of the government shutdown.”

I next called both the White House and Sen. McConnell’s Washington, D.C., office to alert them that, in addition to “coal” for energy, we need to restart the Pony Express mail system to “make America great again.”

This all makes perfect sense if you don’t mind the mail being beyond late, or if you are the incompetent occupant of our Oval Office wearing hideously long ties as a “cover-up” for being out of shape.

Imagine all those ponies and riders champing at the bit to get going again. Yee-haw!

JACKIE SMITH

Sunapee