by John Klar
Many Vermonters are on fixed incomes. The Legislature’s taxation efforts are the opposite of “progressive” – they are horribly “regressive”: they tax the poor and reward the rich.
Vermont’s Net Metering program has added tens of millions of dollars in increased electricity rates yearly to those on fixed incomes to fund inefficient rooftop solar arrays on Vermont homes (rooftop arrays are the most costly, least efficient solar panel application).
Vermont’s EV car program is similarly supported regressively by diverting tax dollars from low-income Vermonters to finance fancy “planet-saving” cars that no regular Vermonter could afford until it is ready for the junk yard. Increased “fees” for registration and other mandated state expenses are a way to increase taxes while calling it something else. Tightening regulations on cars and other vehicles also add more and more costs every year.
Last year the State of Vermont proposed a sales tax on groceries, arguing that the state is “losing revenue” that it should collect and then redistribute to the poor. But this plan, like “universal school meals,” again sucks money from the poorest of citizens and awards it to the wealthiest – how is it “progressive” or “equitable” to deliver free meals to millionaires living in multi million dollar homes?
Taxes on Vermonters have risen faster than their underlying incomes for years – but state salaries increase every year regardless of the plight of voters. More, the state just hires more and more employees. Vermont has nearly twice the number of state and municipal employees as neighboring New Hampshire, per capita. It has nearly the most expensive per student costs of public school in the nation. (And as yet more students flee our failing schools, not a single superintendent is relieved of their expensive duties).
This “systemic oppression” has only grown steadily worse in recent years – the poorer Vermonters get, the more progressives exploit their poverty to extract yet more wealth from them. I have news for Vermonters – this is anything but equitable. This is a disgusting example of government becoming predator rather than servant; oppressor rather than liberator; enemy rather than ally.
Electing people [like Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange] who raise heating fuel prices and tell citizens to just “get a blanket, for C—-t’s sake,” is the reason Vermonters are suffering from huge tax and regulatory burdens that benefit government bureaucrats and their ideological supporters instead of the poor citizens who have trusted them to protect them.
The author is a Brookfield resident, farmer, lawyer, former pastor, and now candidate for state senator from Orange County.