North Archives - December 05, 2006
| Editorial | News & Views
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to Terms with Terms
By John McClaughry
"…. Spurred by the League
of Women Voters, the 1971 legislature proposed a four-year term for all
five constitutional officers. The voters rejected the proposal on town
meeting day 1974. The four-year term proposal has reappeared in the legislature
every four years since 1979, but has never again won even initial Senate
approval…. On its merits the four year term proposal would seem to be assured
of easy legislative passage and, in 2010, final voter approval. There is,
however, one large fly in the ointment. Legislators also want four-year
terms…." -- John McClaughry is president of the Ethan Allen Institute
Potpourri of Topics
By Pete Behr
"Since I have several things
to write about, this column is organized by department, just like the government…."
– Pete Behr lives in Woodstock and writes a regular column for the Woodstock
Taxes, Education and the Future of Vermont
By Jack McMullen
"… In the nine years since
Act 60 passed, spending on public education has risen 115 percent while
enrollment has dropped 9 percent from 106,341 to 96,774. Consequently,
per pupil spending has skyrocketed 136 percent. Public records, teacher
contracts, and state reports reveal four basic reasons for the spending
increases.…" -- Jack McMullen, a strategy consultant to Fortune 500
and technology-oriented companies, lives in Burlington. He was the Republican
nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2004.
and schools: More does not mean better
NH Union Leader Editorial,
Nov. 28, 2006
THE EVER-INCREASING cost
of public education is sending property taxes through the roof. Residents
are near revolt. Towns are beginning to demand a repeal of the statewide
property tax…. And all of this in a state that has both a sales and an
income tax.… The average per-capita state and local tax burden in New Hampshire
was $3,136 this year, according to the Tax Foundation. In Vermont, the
figure was $4,118. Vermonters pay nearly $1,000 more a year in state and
local taxes, and still the public schools claim they don't have enough
money…. Not content to take more than $4,000 from each resident, Vermont
in January will impose a tax on Internet sales…. The problem is not a lack
of money. It is a lack of accountability. Don't be duped, New Hampshire.
More taxes will not make our schools any better. They will just make them
Eagle Times Editorial, 11/20/2006
Opponents of efforts to expand
a gravel operation near Green Mountain Union High School in Chester plan
to petition for a revote on a measure on allowable activities in one of
the town's zoning districts. Supporters of the revote may think of this
as "democracy at its best," but we suggest the results of the Nov. 7 vote,
while closely divided, be allowed to stand. There doesn't appear to be
any good justification for the revote, only an opposition group unwilling
to accept the results of a legitimate election….
districts drive up taxes
Rutland Herald Editorial,
Nov. 19, 2006
The peculiar politics of
property taxes were on display in Bennington last week when the Board of
Selectmen endorsed a movement to "Revolt and Repeal" the education finance
system created by Acts 60 and 68. The board took this action despite the
fact that Bennington gains significant revenue benefits from the system
as it exists….
Trumps Political Correctness - Christmas resurrected
Caledonian Record, Nov.
…Three weeks ago, Wal-Mart's
policy makers announced that they had resurrected Christmas this year and
all of their employees would be allowed, nay, encouraged, to wish "Merry
Christmas" to customers. Following Wal-Mart, other biggies like Kmart,
Kohl's, Macy's and Target jumped on board. What happened? What changed
the minds of these disciples of Political Correctness? Quite simply, their
elimination of Christmas from Christmas last year spawned powerful reactions
among the hoi polloi who boycotted them and hurt business. And since the
religion of business is sales and more sales, they saw the light and came
back, fully repentant, to business orthodoxy, declaring that if their customers
want Christmas, Christmas is what they'll get….
Vermont's Brain Drain
By Beth Parent, WCAX November
… The Next Generation Commission
has been working for the last few months to find out what is causing the
brain drain in Vermont…. Many students leave the state after graduation
because of a lack of good paying jobs. "It's vital, if we don't have jobs
we don't have a life," said Bill Stenger, of the Next Generation Commission….
The next generation commission will formally make its recommendations to
legislative leaders and the public by mid December….
Warming Gag Order
Senators to Exxon: Shut
up, and pay up.
Opinion Journal, December
Washington has no shortage
of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Senators
Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else.
We reprint the full text
of the letter here,
so readers can see for themselves…. Let's compare the balance of forces:
on one side, CEI; on the other, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sierra Club,
Environmental Defense, the U.N. and EU, Hollywood, Al Gore, and every politically
correct journalist in the country. We'll grant that's a fair intellectual
fight. But if the Senators are so afraid that a handful of policy wonks
at a single small think-tank are in danger of winning this debate, they
must not have much confidence in the merits of their own case…. Every dogma
its day, and we've lived long enough to see more than one "consensus" blown
apart within a few years of "everyone knowing" it was true. In recent decades
environmentalists have been wrong about almost every other apocalyptic
claim they've made: global famine, overpopulation, natural resource exhaustion,
the evils of pesticides, global cooling, and so on. Perhaps it's useful
to have a few folks outside the "consensus" asking questions before we
commit several trillion dollars to any problem….
World According to Jimmy Carter
Alan Dershowitz, November
I like Jimmy Carter…. That's
why it troubles me so much that this decent man has written such an indecent
book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His bias against Israel shows
by his selection of the book's title: "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid."
The suggestion that without peace Israel is an apartheid state analogous
to South Africa is simply wrong…. Israel's motive for holding on to this
land is the prevention of terrorism. It has repeatedly offered to exchange
land for peace and did so in Gaza and southern Lebanon only to have the
returned land used for terrorism, kidnappings and rocket launchings. I
don't know why Jimmy Carter, who is generally a careful man, allowed so
many errors and omissions to blemish his book. Here are simply a few of
the most egregious….
Democratic Tax Cut (Subscription required)
Wall Street Journal, November
If this month's elections
were a mandate for higher taxes, the news apparently hasn't reached Democrats
in West Virginia. Immediately upon gaining seats in the state legislature
his party already dominates, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin called lawmakers
into session for a quick round of tax cuts. He now expects to have moderate
reductions in corporate, franchise, personal income and grocery taxes on
his desk within a few days.
Not bad. But then, tax reform
is long overdue in Charleston. The Tax Foundation
ranks West Virginia a dismal 34th out of 50 in state tax competitiveness.
All three states bordering West Virginia to the east are more attractive
for running a business: Maryland and Pennsylvania ranked 29th and 22nd
respectively, while Virginia has the 13th most competitive tax code.
With more jobs shifting between states than are moving overseas, its
tax code has left West Virginia with an economy too dependent on a coal
industry that's leveling mountains in search of pockets of naturally occurring
wealth. And too many of its young people go elsewhere.
Governor Manchin is popular,
but he's also aware that West Virginia is no longer a one-party state.
President Bush carried it twice and this year Republicans hoped to pick
up legislative seats by campaigning for lower taxes. Don Blankenship, the
CEO of Massey Energy, the largest coal producer in the state, spent hundreds
of thousands of dollars trying to elect tax-cutting Republicans.
Mr. Manchin neutralized the
issue by promising to cut taxes himself and unveiling his own ideas for
reform a week before voters headed to the polls. Now he will soon sign
into law a $70 million tax-reform package, a modest sum considering the
state pulled in a $400 million surplus this past year. He's promising more
next year. The message from West Virginia is that Democrats don't have
to be the high-tax party. And they'll do better politically when they aren't.
Boom: BAD NEWS
By Christine B. Whelan,
November 29, 2006
"The CDC preliminary data
released last week: A record 37 percent of all U.S. births were to unmarried
women in 2005. It's not a teen issue: The birth rate for under-20 women
fell to the lowest on record. But births to unmarried women aged 20 to
44 continued a long-term rise."