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True North Archives - November 21, 2006
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Featured Articles

An 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.” 

Getting 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.

Say “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.

Vermont News

Vermont’s 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 taxpayers.

Facing 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.

In 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 point….

RELATED: Newark Citizens for Justice

Bennington 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….

A 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….

From Elsewhere

The Era of Big Government Conservatism Must End
By Lawrence Kudlow, November 18, 2006

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 spending….

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….

Optimism Pays Off 
Twenty-five years later, Reagan’s tax cuts are a global tide.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER, November 17, 2006

…. 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 tax policy.

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%....

Election 2006: What Happened and What Does it Mean?
By John McIntyre, November 16, 2006

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 restraint.

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….

Love Uranium
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….







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