Letters to the Editor (8/13/09)

Aug. 13, 2009

Never again

Never having read the “Liberally Speaking” column, I thought I’d check it out this week. MISTAKE. The adolescent, arrogant yammer didn’t surprise me a bit, but — yawn — exactly where was Steve Mount going with what he wrote?

I saw nothing in that column that would have remotely persuaded me the Democrats have a solid handle on reality. All the Hollywood glitter is wearing off and reality is hitting them square in the face. I honestly believe they don’t have an idea of what to do.

Sorry, Steve, but reading your column once is enough for me.

Kimberly Townsend, Williston

More tax increases

It is property tax time again, and again property taxes have increased over last year. When will it all end? Property values have plummeted considerably, people have lost their jobs and, in some cases, lost their homes.

However, there is a bright spot to all this tax increase: Teachers have received a 12 percent raise over the next three years. This equates to a 4 percent increase in pay per year. By coincidence, my property taxes have increased by 4.5 percent for the coming tax year. I assume the same will hold true for the next two years if spending is not under control. School administrators need to come up with a plan to fund the teachers’ raises without raising property taxes.

Education consumes a large portion of property taxes in Vermont and, as such, must be controlled to be affordable and efficient. Here are some interesting statistics from page 6 of the April/May 2009 “Vermont Property Owners Report:” The number of teaching assistants has increased by 40.9 percent; the number of teachers has increased by 14.8 percent; student to teacher ratio is somewhere around 12 to 15 students per teacher; full-time student enrollment has decreased by more than 8 percent.

Something is wrong with this picture. How could student enrollment decrease while teaching positions increase?

Teaching positions should be reduced, class size increased and teaching assistant positions eliminated to reflect student enrollment.

The answer, in my opinion, to pull Vermont and the nation out of this recession is to control spending at all levels of government and make Vermont an affordable place to live and do business. Lowering cost could result in lowering taxes. Putting a limit on how much taxes can be increased in a year would also have a positive effect on the Vermont economy by creating new business and jobs!

Doug Ferreira, Richmond