North Archives - November 21, 2006
| Editorial | News & Views
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Enormous Task for the GOP
By Don Griffes
"…. Ultimately, to restore
the GOP, Republicans must earn and get the attention of a majority of Vermont
voters. Republican core values must be made public and indelible in the
voter’s thinking, and dominate the party’s actions…. It will take hard
work, civility, reliability and integrity, to earn Republicans the sincere
respect of the voters. We cannot allow our political adversaries, the liberal
Socialists, one more inch of Vermont’s political turf if we can possibly
help it…." -- Don Griffes has served over 3 decades on the VT State
Republican Committee from Orleans County.
NOTE: In this, the
year of the Thumpin’, Orleans County held all its Republican incumbent
seats, and even replaced one Progressive with an “R.”
the GOP Back on Track
By Robert Maynard
"…. Ruth Dwyer gave Howard
Dean the biggest political scare of his career…. Jim Douglas beat Doug
Racine in his 2002 campaign for Governor in a tight three way race.
There is NO WAY anyone can convince me that Doug Racine was as formidable
an opponent as the sitting Governor Howard Dean. I do not believe that
Jim would have done any better against Howard Dean in the 2000 race that
Ruth did. In fact, I doubt that he would have given Dean as much
trouble as Ruth did…." – Robert Maynard lives in Williston.
“No” to Teacher Strikes
By Jack McMullen
"....of the 34 states with
public employee collective bargaining statutes, all but seven prohibit
strikes. It would make sense for teachers to have the ability to strike
if parents had the ability to spend tax dollars for a school that better
met the needs of their children if the school threatening a strike did
not. K through 12 education is the only sector of our economy that does
not give the consumer a choice in the product or service they buy -- and
it shows in the price paid for the goods." -- Jack McMullen, a strategy
consultant to Fortune 500 and technology-oriented companies, lives in Burlington.
He was Vermont’s Republican nominee for the U. S. Senate in 2004.
Crying in Their Beer Tax
By Chris Fleisher, Valley
News, November 19, 2006
Beer. For nearly 40 years
it stood on the final frontier of Vermont's retail landscape, immune from
the state's sales tax. But on Jan. 1, 2007, when Vermont institutes new
definitions for its sales and use tax, those six-packs will cost 6 percent
more…. Although wine is taxed in Vermont, beer had avoided the sales tax
because it was treated as a separate category. The streamlined definitions
lump them together and, rather than lift the tax on wine, legislators
chose to tax beer.
Editor’s note: Bold
added above to highlight exactly how our legislature thinks. This adds
a new perspective to the concept of squeezing every last drop out of us
health rate crisis, VLCT jettisons Blue Cross
By David Delcore, Times
Argus, November 14, 2006
Faced with a dramatic rise
in rates, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns' Health Trust Inc. has
ended its 20-year relationship with the state's oldest and largest private
health insurer. In a move that will ripple across Vermont's universe of
health coverage, the looming shift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
to health insurer CIGNA signals the end of an era for the VLCT Health Trust
– a 300-member municipal cooperative that has exclusively done business
with Blue Cross since 1986….Those municipalities collectively employ more
than 3,800 workers who have been insured under one of the more than 70
plans administered by Blue Cross, according to Shepeluk. With their families,
those workers represent nearly 10,000 of the more than 180,000 Vermonters
insured by Blue Cross, he said.
Vermont, a movement to scrap statewide property tax
By Ross Sneyd, Associated
Press, November 13, 2006
Ben Bangs pulls a scrap
of paper from his pocket on which he has neatly listed in pencil how much
he has paid in property taxes in each of the past several years…. it spiked
38 percent in the past year…."People are being forced to sell," Bangs said.
"They can't afford to live comfortably and pay their taxes, too. They don't
want to sell it. We've struggled to hold on to it." Bangs, his neighbors
and homeowners in dozens of other Vermont towns have reached a breaking
Citizens for Justice
joins the school property tax revolt
By Patrick McArdle, Rutland
Herald, Nov. 15, 2006
BENNINGTON — Bennington
is one of the towns in Vermont that benefits from the state's education
funding formula, receiving $10.5 million in state aid last year. But that
didn't stop its select board Monday from joining the statewide "Revolt
and Repeal" movement….
Perfect Tax Storm about to inundate Vermont
Caledonian Record Editorial,
November 16, 2006
….What are the conditions?
First, Acts 60/68 set in motion a property tax dependence and a state tax
grab that has spun out of control. Second, education costs are rising in
a tight spiral that shows no signs of slowing down or being contained.
Third, the real estate market in Vermont is riding a bubble of escalating
values driven by low mortgage rates, lots of investment money and thousands
of down-country city folk buying second homes and vacation homes…. Mix
all of these things together and all that we need for the perfect tax storm
is a catalyst. We got that last week on Election Day….
Era of Big Government Conservatism Must End
By Lawrence Kudlow, November
The single-best thing the
lame-duck GOP Congress can do is vote in a spending-limitation bill with
balanced-budget targets for the next couple of years. This would be a spending-cap
pay-as-you-go, which means that any increased spending must be offset by
lower spending in other parts of the budget. Not higher taxes, reduced
The era of big-government
conservatism must come to an end. And right now.
In the new Congress next
year, Democrats will push a revenue pay-go. This means any new spending
initiatives could be financed through higher taxes. And Democrats want
to spend. Just take a look at their wish list: student loan subsidies,
a major expansion of No Child Left Behind, more money to fill so-called
"doughnut hole" (Medicare Part D) prescription-drug assistance and an expansion
of health care for the uninsured on the way to universal health coverage….
years later, Reagan’s tax cuts are a global tide.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER, November
…. In the final months of
Ronald Reagan’s presidency, something else happened that forced even Beltway
accountants to look up from their ledgers: The Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Five years later this brought forth the second great wave of supply-side
Communism had been running
what might be called a 40-year demonstration study in life at one end of
the Laffer Curve—what happens to economies when you tax away pretty much
everything. Freed of this utopia, the peoples of Eastern Europe now had
to devise new tax regimes appropriate to nations eager—for want of a better
phase—to work, save and invest. The first former Iron Curtain country to
cut its taxes was Estonia in 1994, led by Prime Minister Mart Laar, who
claimed then the only economics book he’d ever read was Milton Friedman’s
“Free to Choose.” Estonia established a flat rate on personal incomes of
26%; two years earlier it had abolished all import tariffs. Estonia grew.
After Estonia, flat-tax regimes
coursed across Eastern Europe, as listed below (bear in mind that the top
rate in the U.S. is 35%): Lithuania, 33%; Latvia, 25%; Slovakia, 19% Romania,
16%; Ukraine, 13%; Russia, 13%; and Georgia, 12%....
2006: What Happened and What Does it Mean?
By John McIntyre, November
Why did the Democrats take
over Congress, and does it portend a larger and long-lasting Democratic
majority?... The real answer to this election is found not in what the
Democrats did but why the Republican majority crumbled.
First, there were three broad
policy issues that hurt Republicans on the margins:
1) Spending: Ironically,
the good economy eliminated any excuse for the dereliction of Republican
government on spending. Many voters were simply fed up with watching their
money go to outrageous earmarks and bridges to nowhere, all courtesy of
a Republican Congress and a President who were supposed to stand for fiscal
2) Schiavo & Stem cells:
Fairly or unfairly, the perception that religious beliefs were trumping
individual family choices, science and medical research hurt Republicans
with moderates, independents and libertarian-leaning conservatives.
3) Immigration: The immigration
debate hurt Republicans both ways as frustration with the inability to
secure the border added to a lack of faith in Republican government, and
the loud and angry rhetoric over "amnesty" turned off Hispanics and voters
in the middle….But make no mistake about it: the driving issue in this
election was Iraq….
by Peter Huber 11.27.06
If you're 40 or older, you're
going to spend the rest of your life powered by carbon or uranium. Take
your pick. Forget about "none of the above" or "less of both." For the
next several decades at least, alternative energy sources aren't serious
choices; they are pork barrels, delusions, demonstration plants and daydreams….