Courtesy photo by David Yandell
The Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team celebrates after a 6-3 playoff win against South Burlington High on Saturday. See story under Sports.
Following a solid tune-up last weekend in Jericho, the Champlain Valley Union High Nordic ski team will go for the gold in state meets Friday in Bennington and Monday at Craftsbury.
It will be classic racing at Mount Anthony Union in Bennington, with the boys hitting the trail at 10:30 a.m. and the girls at 11:30 a.m. Relays are set for the afternoon.
A similar schedule is set for freestyle in Craftsbury, with girls starting at 10:30 a.m. and boys at 11:30 a.m., again with relays in the afternoon.
Last weekend, the girls rolled to a 12-51 victory over second-place host Mount Mansfield Union High and four other teams.
Kylie deGroot (18 minutes, 40 seconds) earned the victory, with teammate Johanna Fehrs (18:53) taking second place. Joining them in the top six were Redhawks Sienna Searles, (4), Abby Stoner (5) and Anya Rose (6).
The boys took second to Mount Mansfield in the team totals. The Cougars were led by winner Nick Marshall in totaling 16 points to 40 for CVU.
The Redhawks' Andrew Childs was third and Sam Epstein fourth.
— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mal Boright
The game was over, the advance to the Division 1 semifinals at the University of Vermont’s Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium belonged to underdog St. Johnsbury, and still the 2009-2010 edition of the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team did not depart from Bremner Gym until long after most others had left.
Despite Saturday afternoon’s 40-37 defeat at the hands of a 9-13, Cinderella-like Hilltopper five, the Redhawks finished a solid 17-5 campaign that far exceeded many preseason expectations. No one wanted it to end.
St. Johnsbury, in the midst of a rise from the nether-land of a low seed (12th) to the division’s final four for a second straight season, contained CVU’s offense with a stifling defense and played loose and within itself in front of a large and raucous band of supporters.
The fourth-seeded home team’s only lead was 1-0 on a Shae Hulbert free throw in the opening minute. The Hilltoppers opened a 12-4 edge by the end of the first period as CVU, appearing somewhat tight, hit only one of seven shots. Nine turnovers in the physical contest contributed disruption to an offense struggling to get into gear.
St. Johnsbury was not exactly an unstoppable offensive force against a tough CVU defense, but the Hilltoppers were able to sink five treys at opportune times to stay in front by six to seven points before the Redhawks made a late charge that nearly turned matters around.
Down 37-29 and apparently out of it with 1:40 remaining, coach Stan Williams’ gritty crew created a furious rally, started by an Allison Gannon put back at 1:37.
Two free throws by St. Jay’s Adama Kay (14 points) put the Green Clads back up 39-31 with 50.5 seconds showing.
Game over, right?
Wrong, stated CVU’s Carlee Evans with a three-point bomb at 35.4 seconds to get the Redhawks to within five points.
Moments later, after a Hilltopper turnover, Kendal Kohlash, who assisted on Evans’ trey, got the ball to Gannon in the corner. Gannon knocked down another threebie that cut the lead to 39-37 and forced St. Jay to call a timeout with 15.8 seconds left.
When play resumed, the Hawks had to foul and sent Britney Lane to the line to make one of two for the 40-37 lead. A CVU three-point try at the buzzer fail to connect.
It was the final appearances for the Redhawks’ senior co-captains Gannon and Kohlasch. Both had strong games with Kohlasch (10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) providing a strong floor game. Gannon, heavily defended, had 10 points and four rebounds, exploding for eight of her points and three rebounds in the fourth quarter comeback.
Hulbert, a junior, also contributed 10 points to go with a game-leading eight rebounds.
St. Johnsbury held a serious advantage on the glass (26-20 for the game) and in bagging loose basketballs until the fourth period, when the Redhawks collected an 8-4 edge in rebounding.
ST. J 12 6 10 12 – 40
CVU 4 9 9 15 – 37
St. Johnsbury Academy (9-13)
Calkins 1-2 2-2 4, Regis 1-5 0-0 3, Kay 5-13 3-7 14, Bruckner 0-0 0-0 0, Lane 3-8 5-6 13, Moran 1-6 1-1 3, Rowe 1-5 0-0 3, Driscoll 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-40 11-16 40.
Kohlasch 3-8 3-7 10, Hulbert 3-7 4-6 10, Gannon 4-12 1-3 10, Evans 1-1 2-2 5, Kinneston 1-3 0-2 2, Donnelly 0-1 0-0 0, Bayer-Pacht 0-3 0-0 0, Schenk 0-0 0-0 0, Hawley 0-0 0-0 0, Giles 0-0 0-0 0, Riordan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-35 10-20 37.
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mal Boright
After completing their first 15-victory regular season since 2000, the 15-5 Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team had a first round home Division 1 playoff round against 12-8 Spaulding High of Barre on Wednesday night. A win would allow the Redhawks to advance in the quarterfinals.
Success against the Crimson Tide would put the Redhawks against second-seeded, 17-3 Essex High at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Hornets’ nest. CVU scored a pulsating 58-54 win at Essex a couple of weeks ago to even the season series at 1-1.
Coach Scott Bliss’ unit was seeded seventh. Spaulding, seeded 10th, nipped the Hawks 62-57 in early January in Barre.
Top Division 1 seed went, as expected, to 19-1 Burlington High, which pulled out a 51-44 triumph over CVU on Friday night at Bremner Gymnasium.
With 38 seconds to go, the Redhawks had the ball under their basket and trailed just 46-44. But a bobble on a pass-in turned the sphere back to the Seahorses and their captain Joe O’Shea sank five of six charity shots to clinch the win.
A 6-foot-4 guard, O’Shea was the triggerman for Burlington.
The Redhawks led 24-19 at the half and 33-31 entering the final reel when the veteran BHS star took charge and unloaded 11 points.
His long bomb from the side put Burlington up 34-33 and, moments later, another trey from out front put BHS ahead for good, 40-38. CVU, led by Jake Donnelly, twice got back to within a point but the Seahorses made their free throws to maintain the lead.
O’Shea finished with 25 points after CVU defenders, led by Chris Nigh, held him to two hits in seven tries and six points in the first half. It was obvious that O’Shea — lean, fast and athletic — can be contained, but only for a while.
Donnelly finished with 19 points and six-for-12 from the floor and seven-of-nine at the line. Despite a sore left arm (his shooting iron), center Will Hurd hit five-of-eight from the floor for 13 points, including a trio of treys.
Along with O’Shea, Burlington had 6-foot-5 Jackson Grady and 6-foot-5 Mackenzie Heimert on its front line. That assortment of redwoods packed defensively around the hoop gave CVU problems for its usually effective drives to the hoop.
“It was the biggest front line we’ve seen this year,” Donnelly said.
But the Redhawks were right there at the end and for the second time this season (the first a 56-50 loss at BHS) proved they can play with the number one seed.
BHS 12 7 12 20 – 51
CVU 10 14 9 11 – 44
Burlington High (19-1)
O'Shea 7-16 7-9 25, Heimert 1-5 0-0 3, Grady 3-7 2-2 8, Dailey 1-1 2-2 4, Corriveau 2-8 1-2 6, Zabili 0-1 0-0 0, Vachereau 1-4 0-1 3, Rodgers 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 16-45 12-16 51.
Nigh 0-1 0-0 0, Rensch 1-2 0-0 2, Hurd 5-8 0-4 13, Hart 0-0 0-0 0, Beaton 0-1 0-2 0, Donnelly 6-12 7-9 19, Russ 3-7 2-2 8, Clayton 1-1 0-0 2, Gale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-32 9-17 44.
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mal Boright
Going for their seventh Division 1 girls ice hockey crown in the last nine years, the Green and Gold of Bellows Free Academy team from St. Albans proved unflappable Monday night at Kreitzberg Arena at Norwich University in Northfield.
The Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks, in only their second ever semifinal appearance, gave the seasoned BFA unit some serious challenges — but the Comets had answers, and took charge in the final minutes of the game for a 6-3 victory.
Now 14-4-4, third-seeded BFA moves on to Friday night’s title test against top-seeded Spaulding High of Barre, which won 5-2 over Essex High in Monday night’s second semifinal contest.
CVU coach Tom Ryan told the news media after the game that his team “did a great job this season,” reminding all that the Redhawks went 1-19 just three seasons ago.
One of several CVU players who had BFA coaches reaching for the ulcer medicine was sophomore blazer Sophia Steinhoff, who authored a three-goal hat trick that kept the Redhawks in contention until the final five minutes.
The deftly skating Steinhoff opened the scoring with almost six minutes gone in the first period, taking the puck at mid-rink, escaping a trap along the left boards and cutting in on the net from a sharp angle before firing it past BFA net minder Shanley Howrigan.
Less than two minutes later, BFA tied it with a rebound shot from out of a crowd in front of CVU goalie Nicole Sisk.
The Comets were in front 2-1 when Steinhoff struck again, knocking in a rebound at 10:57 of the second period, assists going to KK Logan and Kate Ford.
But the unfazed Comets came right back just 17 seconds later to take the lead on an Allie Berno tally.
After BFA went up 4-2 on a power play goal 44 seconds into the final period, Steinhoff, assisted by Ford, got the Redhawks back to within a single score at 9:21.
But BFA second team Metro All-Star Katelynn Morneau, a speedy forward, knocked in goals at 8:14 and 5:19 to reassert Comet control.
Trailing by two with 7:13 left, CVU had a golden opportunity with two BFA players off for penalties, but the five-three advantage did not result in a score and was lost a minute later on a CVU penalty. Morneau’s second goal came on a shorthanded breakaway at 5:19.
CVU had a slight 22-19 edge in shots on goal.
Junior Molly Howard, who scored her 100th point with a goal and assist in CVU’s solid 3-2 quarterfinal win over South Burlington High on Saturday at Cairns Arena, had some solid chances Monday but narrowly missed corners on breathtaking breakaway opportunities.
Steinhoff and defender extraordinaire Alyx Rivard also racked up goals for CVU in the victory over the Rebels.
HONORS FOR HOCKEY PLAYERS, COACH
Four members of the Champlain Valley Union High girls semifinal hockey team have been named to the 2010 metro Division All-Star team as chosen by the coaches.
In addition, head coach Tom Ryan was named coach of the year after guiding the Redhawks to a 16-5-1 record and second seed in the Division 1 playoffs.
All-Metro second team selections went to junior forward Molly Howard and junior defender Alyx Rivard.
Sophomore Sophia Steinhoff, a forward, was named to the third team, while senior forward KK Logan earned an honorable mention.
— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent
Boys try to repeat as state champs
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mal Boright
Don’t know if members of the Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team say “lovin’ it” about McDonald’s burgers, but they sure are loving the pressure of the Division 1 postseason playoffs.
Tuesday night, the defending champions became the first seventh-seeded team to advance to the championship contest by virtue of a 4-2 victory over third-seeded North Country Union High (14-8-1) at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The 13-8-2 Redhawks now wait until 8 p.m. on Tuesday to take on fourth-seeded Spaulding High of Barre (15-6-2) for the Big Trophy. Spaulding nipped Bellows Free Academy, 1-0, in the other semifinal.
Coach Doug Hopper’s recharged crew, now in its third straight title test, has bounced back from losses in its final three regular season games to capture three straight playoff wins. The victories include an opening 4-1 home victory over Burr and Burton followed by Saturday’s 6-3 triumph over second-seeded South Burlington High.
One of the primary engineers Tuesday was junior forward Robbie Dobrowski, who assisted on CVU’s first goal and then added two of his own in a 78-second stretch midway through the first period that gave the Redhawks a quick 3-0 lead and brought both grins and concern to the CVU coaching staff.
“I was afraid that after getting that kind of lead that quick we might start to sit back and we did,” Hopper said.
The Falcons, who beat the Hawks 4-2 two weeks ago at Cairns Arena, were held without a shot on goal by hard charging CVU until the 12:32 mark of the opening reel, when Trevor Gray launched a power play blast from the left point over the left shoulder of Hawks’ net minder Mark Albertson.
“I hardly saw it,” Albertson said of the shot. The senior also admitted that it had been strange not seeing the puck coming his way for almost the entire first period, but business returned after that and he had several sharp stops among his 11 saves, nine of those in a second period in which NCU dominated play.
“We got going again with 10 minutes to go in the game,” Hopper said.
That was after Gray scored on another power play goal 6:22 into the final stanza to bring the Falcons back to within 3-2.
Senior forward Nate Lacroix provided the capper with 32.9 seconds left when, from deep in his own zone, he banked the puck off the left boards and into an empty Falcon net, just abandoned a moment before by pulled goalie Chris Bronson (19 saves).
Dobrowski had himself a party in that first period explosion, which hiked his playoff scoring to six goals in three games and added to the career 100 point total he reached against South Burlington.
He opened the flurry with a hard sortie into NCU’s zone that drew a boarding penalty. On the ensuing power play, teammate Kyle Logan knocked in a rebound, on which Dobrowski drew an assist.
Just over a minute later, Dobrowski knocked in a rebound of a Lacroix shot for a 2-0 lead. Just 13 seconds later, the smooth skater moved into the Falcons’ zone and shifted to the right of the goal and unleashed a high shot into the cage for the third score. Mayson Kropf got the assist.
He may have had more goals but hit the posts twice on point blank shots and launched another blast just inches over the cross bar.
“It can be frustrating, hitting the posts in big games,” said Dobrowski, who nevertheless was pleased with the number of scoring opportunities and the way the team came back to reassert itself over the final 10 minutes.
He added that it was one of the most physical games of the season, noting that he was flattened a few times.
It will be CVU’s 15th visit to the championship game. The Redhawks are 11-10 in semifinals.
Refrigerator soup and other leftovers
Feb. 25, 2010
By Ginger Isham
I like to be creative — sometimes I am successful and sometimes not.
A week ago I went to my refrigerator and found some veggie broth from steaming broccoli and carrots. I had cooked a leftover chicken breast (from another meal) with chunks of broccoli, carrots, onion and garlic. I cut up the veggies and chicken into bite-size pieces and added them to the veggie broth. I then added a potato, cut into cubes. This I simmered until the potato was soft, and then I added frozen corn and about 1/4 cup medium salsa. It made a great soup! The salsa gave it a little kick.
You could do this with any leftover turkey, beef or pork. Sometimes I add a little cumin to the chicken soup instead of salsa. You can also add frozen peas.
On another day I used up a fridge container with about 2/3 can of black beans. I had previously sprinkled some of the beans on a salad of greens, red pepper slices, purple onion slices, sunflower seeds and cucumber with a cream dressing.
After rinsing the remaining 2/3 can of black beans, I added chopped onion, fresh garlic and small slivers of a red pepper. I mixed a combination of plain, non-fat yogurt and low-fat sour cream and stirred it into the beans and veggies. I used this as a side dish and at another meal put a couple tablespoons on top of a hamburger cooked under the broiler.
On the farm, we have our dinner at noon, rather than most folks who have theirs in the evening. At the end of the day, when my energy level is low, I can whip up something quick and easy such as scrambled eggs. I put a little water in a frying pan (no fat) on high heat. When it starts to boil I turn it to medium heat and add eggs that I’ve whipped up with chopped onion, leftover bits of cooked broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, cheese or whatever else I have for leftovers that fit with eggs. Maybe you can add bits of leftover ham or a couple slices of cooked bacon. I can stretch a pound of bacon for several meals, as bacon is a treat at our house. I might have used a few slices in chowder or a few partially cooked slices cut up and added to baked beans.
I find it rewarding to go to the fridge or freezer and pull out something that needs to be used up. I tend to put little bits of food away as I have a hard time disposing of them.
Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.
Three issues for our legislators
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mike Benevento
In my last column, I urged citizens to give feedback to our representatives in Montpelier. I requested they also inform me so I can spread the word. With that in mind, here are three responses from some of this column’s readers.
Ralph McGregor of Williston quickly took up the challenge and e-mailed Reps. Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough his opinion on school choice. Although we pay taxes, we seemingly get little say in the schools our children attend. Ralph wrote, “We are way past time for school vouchers. How would educators feel about being only allowed to buy Ford cars or could only shop at Shaws?”
Giving Vermonters the flexibility to use education dollars to send their children to the school of their choice allows schools to compete for students and money. Because school vouchers give parents the choice of public, private and religious schools, competition would help make all schools more efficient and accountable.
Rob Roper, grassroots coordinator for EdWatch Vermont, believes the best solution is reform that allows for full, statewide school choice with money following the child. As Ralph wrote, “This would probably cut education costs by at least 30 to 40% and the kids would get a better education.”
Ralph finished his e-mail with, “If you still need to cut expenses, call in a few businessmen to look at other state expenses and start CUTTING!!!!”
Williston’s Jay Michaud wholeheartedly agrees with cutting expenses. As a business owner, Jay experiences what he terms Montpelier’s unrelenting economic and bureaucratic burden. According to Jay, the Legislature is unresponsive to the needs of the people. While it espouses pro-business rhetoric, many of the actions the Democrat-run Legislature take are anti-business.
Like many entrepreneurs, Jay has had enough. They feel representatives need to wake up, act responsibly, stop paying lip service to job creation and take action. Otherwise, they may be out of a job in November because they do not represent their constituency’s will.
Jay points out that last year — during serious economic times — both McCullough and Macaig voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto. In doing so, they helped pass a bloated state budget that increased spending during the same time business and families had to cut back. Either the Legislature was out of touch with the state’s inhabitants, or it did not care. In times of decreased business and family revenues, increasing spending is wrong.
Business as usual in Montpelier severely hampers Vermont’s commerce. The Legislature fosters an ever-growing welfare state and appears beholden to special interest groups. There are too many unfunded mandates. Delays in building the Circ Highway, pension obligations, unemployment insurance and increasing energy costs by closing Vermont Yankee are among the many issues hurting Vermont’s economy.
A severe exodus of jobs from the state began long ago. With business at the breaking point, if Montpelier does not change its ways, more will surely follow.
One can easily tell that Jay is passionate about improving Vermont’s business climate. Because of his enthusiasm, I know we will be seeing great things from him in the future.
Like a growing majority of Americans, Patricia Crocker of Essex Junction is concerned about the unborn. Pat urges the Legislature to pass an unborn victims law giving protected status to fetuses affected by criminal acts.
Pending legislation was sparked by separate auto accidents involving Patricia Blair and Sarah Cardinal. Both were pregnant with twins and in each accident the fetuses were killed. Strangely, because Vermont does not recognize unborn children, none of the four babies lost counted as official deaths.
Ideas being discussed in Montpelier addressing fetal homicide include increased penalties for intentional or negligent crimes against pregnant women. Another proposal would allow prosecutors to charge people who kill a fetus with murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide. Some versions give limited legal status to the unborn victim while at the same time protecting a woman’s ability to have an abortion.
Abortion advocates almost reflexively reject any legislation protecting the unborn as they fear it may eventually lead to an all-out ban on abortion. Any proposal bestowing any right — no matter how small — is seen as a threat and must be immediately snuffed out. While the pending legislation is not about abortion — and may contain language exempting women and doctors concerning abortions — they oppose it out of habit.
According to former Vermont State Sen. Mark Shepard, 35 states have fetal homicide laws, so there is no rational reason why Vermont does not enact one. Let’s hope the Vermont Legislature agrees and votes one in place.
Michael Benevento is a former Air Force fighter jet weapon systems officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Military History and a master’s in International Relations. Mike resides in Williston with his wife Kristine and their two sons, Matthew and Calvin.
Feb. 25, 2010
By Steve Mount
If the news in the last few weeks proves nothing else, it is that words matter. How we say things, how we describe them, can make all the difference in the world.
When Joseph Allen Stack flew a plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, a building he knew housed IRS employees, the police and the press had a decision to make: was Stack a criminal, or was he a terrorist?
Police, trying to calm frazzled nerves, insisted Stack was nothing more than a common criminal. Muslim activists, however, began to wonder — was it only Muslims who flew planes into buildings who were considered terrorists? Within days, the debate was filling newspaper columns and blogs, with a Google search returning over 26,000 results in blogs alone.
The opinions varied, but the most compelling argument I saw was that Stack was a lone wolf, without an organization behind him, and hence a criminal. It is a close call, though, considering the scope of his cowardly and deadly act and the overtly political nature of his manifesto.
In the world of politics, words are the stock in trade, and words can easily be mangled depending on the political point of view.
If you’ve paid close attention to the news, from time to time, you will hear Republicans refer to their political foes as members of the “Democrat Party.” The first time I heard this, I just figured the speaker was ignorant, mispronouncing a relatively simple word. It turns out, though, this is part of a somewhat concerted effort to try to turn “Democratic Party” into an epithet.
Republicans who have taken to using this “epithet” are being silly. Deliberately mangling someone’s name to aggravate him or her is an elementary school tactic. Democrats who take too much offense should remember that age-old mothers’ mantra: “They only say it because it bothers you.”
Most reasonable people, having heard waterboarding described or witnessed it in action, would call it torture. Many conservatives, notably and recently former Vice President Dick Cheney, prefer to call it “enhanced interrogation.” The distinction is self-serving. Torture is illegal. Enhanced interrogation, presumably, is not.
The White House recently released a brightly colored chart, which attempts to put a positive spin on the nation’s continued loss of jobs. On half of the chart, colored Republican-red, the bars in the chart dip further and further below zero, indicating an increasing loss of jobs. On the other half, colored Democratic-blue, the bars are nearly all still below zero, but marching back up toward zero. The presumption is that soon, the numbers will be positive.
The White House line, and that of the Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America project, is that this is all part of the “recovery.” There is the “Road to Recovery,” the Recovery.gov Web site, and the Recovery Act (the short name of the act’s actual title, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).
Republicans, though, insist on calling the law “the stimulus bill.” The point is to turn the positive word “recovery” into a negative. I’m not exactly sure what it is about “stimulus” that is negative, but both House Republican Majority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor have done this repeatedly in just the last week.
Finally, scheduled for Feb. 25 is a meeting of lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum. The president touted the meeting in last weekend’s radio address:
“I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points. Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations.”
The response from Republicans? They plan to attend, but with their words, were sure to take pot shots at the summit before it even began. Speaking on Sunday’s Meet the Press, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said this:
“Republicans are ready to work. But what we can’t help but feel like here is the Democrats spell summit S-E-T-U-P.”
That the Republicans could fear a summit, a televised chance to talk out differences with the approaches of each party to the issue, tells me that what they really fear is that when they express their plan, the entire country will see how devoid it is of real reform.
Words do matter. Listen to them carefully and you will be able to divine which have worth and which are worthless.
Steve Mount has been a Williston resident since 1996. He is a software engineer at GE Healthcare and is devoted to his family, his country and his Constitution. You can reach Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his blog at http://saltyrain.com/ls.
Feb. 25, 2010
Teachers aren’t in touch with reality
It would seem that teachers in Chittenden South are not in touch with economic reality.
Businesses struggle, employees experience cutbacks or layoffs, food and fuel costs increase. Americans continue to tighten their belts and make decisions between needs and wants, yet teachers in Chittenden South believe they are entitled to larger salary increases and benefits.
Thank you to the CSSU Negotiation Team for recognizing that times most certainly are bad. The teachers union stance is both disrespectful and insulting to hardworking taxpayers who receive no raises, who pay more each year for their health care and who work hard just to get by.
Perhaps the CSSU administration should follow the decision of a school district in Rhode Island, which opted to fire teachers who wouldn’t compromise. Most people I know are grateful to have jobs, much less receive any cost of living increase, and the teachers union would do well to understand that.
Cathy Yandow, Williston
Too much taxation
Vermont’s current General Fund fiscal year 2010 revenue is below the levels of fiscal 2005.
Even with higher taxes we are looking at a $150 million tax shortfall in 2011. That don’t count the couple of hundred million we are borrowing on to keep the unemployment compensation fund afloat. If unemployment rates keep increasing the amount Vermont will need to borrow just to cover those shortfalls will continue to rise.
Federal “funds” now going to Vermont are going to decrease by over $100 million next year. State spending has doubled between now and 1996-97, while Vermont incomes still rank only 25th in per capita income. Our tax rates are at or near highest levels in the nation. Why don’t we just return to state spending levels from a decade ago? This is the best way to give Vermont a competitive edge so that economic activity can be stimulated.
Increasing your credit limit when your spending does not meet your expenses is downright foolish. I’d like to see our representatives make real progress in increasing the wealth of Vermonters. Naturally, that is the same thing as reducing the tax burden. We need to reverse this continued percentage increase in the growth of state and local governments and permit people and businesses to keep more of what they produce, not less.
Things weren’t so bad in 1997, weren’t they? We had half as much unemployment as we do today.
With the large upcoming tax increases scheduled by the Fed for fiscal 2010 we can expect more sharp declines in state tax revenues. Tax revenues normally drop when the tax rates increase. I’d prefer to see the reverse happen. How about you?
Shelley Palmer, Williston