October 22, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Shameful tax legislation from Congress

I am so thoroughly disgusted with the Republicans in Congress that I question whether I can write a civil letter expressing my anger. Since when is it more important to pass legislation by a deadline than it is to pass legislation that is carefully and responsibly crafted?

No public hearings, no seeking comments of learned/experienced people, but pass tax legislation before Christmas. Never mind that the person demanding that it be done by Christmas is now an established liar, among other characteristics.

Since when was the supreme intelligence of the world poured only into the heads of the Republicans in the United States House and Senate? “Never” is the answer.

The proof is in the muddy mess of tax legislation they passed that favors the rich. They even fouled up the original goal — it was the middle class, darlings.

Fix it later they say. Shall we all put our lives on hold until they figure out what’s better?

Shame on every one of you. You insult the founding fathers.

Claire Duke

Vermont’s unattainable energy goals

Various renewable energy interests and lobbyists are going around the state to promote a carbon tax to save renewable energy businesses, because federal subsidies are decreasing.

The carbon tax would take $240 to $300 million out of people’s pockets and transfer it to the state government.

As part of various state programs, some people would get some money back as rebates, many others would get nothing back, or much less than they paid in.

A carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and propane for heating.

The all-knowing state, working together with self-styled transportation gurus, want to force people to drive electric vehicles.

With snow, ice, hills and dirt roads, all-wheel/four-wheel drive vehicles like SUVs, vans and pickup trucks are a necessity in most of Vermont. Very few electric vehicles have all-wheel drive, and some of them cost one and a half to three times as much as a Subaru Outback.

Driving an electric vehicle in winter would be very slow going, unless the vehicle has a large capacity battery like a Tesla ($80,000 to $100,000). The additional stresses cause increased battery aging and capacity loss. Lithium-ion chemistry is pretty well maxed out, according to Tesla CEO Elan Musk.

It would be best if the government and law schools stopped interfering with the people’s energy decisions. Global warming will happen no matter what Vermont does.

The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan has a non-binding goal to “transform” the Vermont economy. It would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017-2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network’s 2015 annual report.

Not counted are the refurbishment and replacement of short-lived wind and solar systems, and the cost of financing.

The Comprehensive Energy Plan could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees.

For Vermont to impose a unilateral carbon tax would make its economy less competitive versus other states, meaning more brain drain and fewer good-paying, steady, full-time jobs with good benefits in the private sector.

A carbon tax would be another headwind for the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

A carbon tax would further aggrandize Vermont’s government, which is already too large, too inefficient, spending too much money, bloated with programs and running annual deficits that are offset with annual increases of taxes, fees and surcharges — as if money grows on trees.

Vermont finally has a governor who aims to reduce the bloated, wasteful state government to enable the hollowed-out private sector to start growing again.

Willem Post

Misguided leadership from Ingram

The minimum wage and paid leave proposals endorsed in Sen. Debbie Ingram’s column in the Dec. 7 issue are ill-advised and being used to distract from the real challenges facing the Legislature.

Studies have shown that an increased minimum wage leads to fewer jobs, an increase in part-time jobs with no benefits and an unsustainable burden on many businesses. The San Francisco experience is a case in point.

Rather than forcing Vermonters to pay more for new programs, responsible legislators should figure out how we will maintain the government we have. For example, the state is facing at least a $45 million budget deficit; Act 46, which was supposed to lower education costs, led to a 7 percent property tax increase this year; there is no plan to fix our broken educational finance system for the long term; and the state has $3.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Passing a $15 minimum wage and a payroll tax to fund paid family leave would worsen the situation by syphoning away resources needed to solve these crises, further burden an economy that desperately needs stimulation and impose additional burdens on taxpayers.

Instead of tackling these difficult issues, Sen. Ingram would rather use expensive and ineffective issues like the minimum wage and family leave as a distraction. This is not the kind of leadership we need in state government today.

Bret Powell


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