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Forum, June 11: Vermont needs basic tax reform

Published: 6/10/2021 10:00:08 PM
Modified: 6/10/2021 10:00:13 PM
Vermont needs basic tax reform

We read in your pages, courtesy of VtDigger, that Vermont has a budget for the coming year that is robust beyond all measure of what had been feared would be required to face the economic realities resulting from COVID-19 (“Scott signs $7.35 billion Vermont state budget,” June 10).

It is a lot of money for Vermont state government to work with. No comparison with past budgets is offered, but it is generous in its provisions to the broadband initiative, weatherization fund and other good causes.

As explained, the budget “benefited from” a windfall of federal funds to compensate for losses resulting from COVID-19. This is putting it mildly. This is a budget made possible by the fact that Vermont, like other states, is now on welfare. Will it recover and ever come off the federal dole?

Gov. Phil Scott apparently thinks so, for he is quoted as boasting that “this budget puts us on a new path to a more prosperous and equitable future for all of Vermont.” Wow, that is a bold claim. And it provides us with the question of the day, and indeed, the last 50 years: Is Vermont on such a path?

I would say no. Maybe my thinking is clouded, but I would aver that fundamental tax reform is needed to put Vermont on a path “to a more prosperous and equitable future.” And in this recently concluded session, the Legislature did nothing to reform Vermont’s aged and ailing tax regime. Expanding the sales tax to cover online purchases is not reform. It is mere opportunism. And it will hardly compensate for the loss in revenues occasioned by future business closings in Vermont. Once again the Legislature has squandered the opportunity for economic revitalization afforded by the need for fundamental tax reform. It would have been a good thing to undertake while the state is on life support.



Sykes roundabouts are foolish things

I hope the people who voted for those foolish roundabouts on Sykes Mountain Avenue in Hartford are happy. They have already made it hard for the businesses there and for the people on their way to work in the early morning hours because you can’t get in or out of any of the businesses without going around both of those roundabouts. And for the car dealers that came to Sykes Mountain Avenue, it is now harder for the trucks carrying cars and parts.

The roundabouts are just pushing away the chance of people coming to visit or work there. It is another big waste of the taxpayers’ money, when it could have been used on better highway improvements that would have made sense.

Maybe the big dogs should look ahead before they do foolish things.



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