SOUTH NEWFANE — With the election over and the Democratic Party in control of Vermont government, I suggest that efforts be made to support government that helps all without offending those of us who are more right of center politically than the left-of-center Democrats.
With that in mind, let me mention an evening get-together where strong, liberal, part-time Vermonter, and Democratic Party member John Kenneth Galbraith came up to me and said, “Bud, I know you are right of center politically, but you might like to know that my two best friends in the world are George McGovern [who had run for president as the Democratic Party candidate] and William F. Buckley Jr. [a leading conservative thinker in America for many years].”
My reaction was that John Galbraith was a class-act person who could think outside the box. We could use more of that.
Let me suggest a few legislative ideas that would benefit most Vermonters:
• To support the Vermont dictum that growth should occur in existing village centers, leaving rural working landscape, pass a law providing state bonding support for villages to implement public water and/or wastewater systems.
• To support better taxation, pass a law that eliminates the property tax and the sales tax in favor of the income tax, as the income tax is really the only way to judge the amount of money that citizens might have at a particular time.
Out-of-state property owners could pay a reduced income tax. Determining property values requires much work; the values are fickle and hurt all who may own property but have low income. Sales taxes depress and are a burden on business.
• To make Vermont safer, less subject to power outages, and more attractive, pass a bill that calls for undergrounding utility lines in villages over the next 25 years.
Such a law would be consistent with Vermont's anti-billboard legislation. It could be coupled with adding trees and some sidewalks along the streets in villages.
• To support responsible creation of electricity and protection of the land, pass a bill to limit solar panels to the roofs of buildings and properly sited wind turbines for electrical generation.
• Calm down on hurried efforts to eliminate fossil fuels, recognize that generating electrical power also involves environmentally destructive methods and that electric air-to-air heat pumps do not work well in Vermont's cold climate.
• Recognize that “single payer” health care, as a monopoly, might not be the answer to all health-care improvements. Choice is usually a good idea in most things, including health care.
• Rather than using public money to build quite expensive subsidized rental housing, provide low-interest vouchers for people to use to purchase housing and build equity.
• Support school choice vouchers.
• To reduce the increasing reach of government, pass a law that requires that all existing laws expire after seven years.
Yours for an even better Vermont,