Property Rights

♪ This Land Ain’t Your Land ♫

Nine proposed constitutional amendments, some of them far reaching, have been introduced in the Vermont Senate. One in particular stands out as a mortal threat to fundamental Vermont principles. That is Proposal 9, with fifteen co-sponsors:  “to provide that the citizens of the State have a right to a clean environment.” This new right would Read More…

Business & Economics Education Tax Land

Who Should Pay for Vermont’s Pension Crisis?

By Rob Roper Vermont now has a $4.5 billion unfunded public pension liability for teachers and municipal workers. The politicians who created this problem are slow (stationary, actually) to take up the task of fixing this because the numbers are huge and telling someone they’re going to have to suck it up and pay does Read More…

Energy Statehouse

With TCI Imploding, A Worse Bill Is on the Horizon

Before the 2020 legislative session kicked off, proponents of the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) were calling the interstate agreement to raise prices of gasoline and diesel by as much as 17¢ a gallon their “banner” legislation for the new year. Now, just half way through January, the scheme is unravelling at a rapid pace. The Read More…

Business & Economics Op-Ed

Act 250 and the Perfect Climate Conscious State

In January 2019 the commission to review and update Act 250 presented a well written report. Its recommendations are now the subject of 94-page bill (H.926) to dramatically reshape the state’s land use and development act. On the plus side, in light of its 50 years in force, Act 250 was certainly due, or overdue, Read More…

Property Rights

Amendment Would Eliminate Private Ownership of Real Estate

PR.9 is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would essentially and in effect ban the private ownership of real estate in Vermont. It’s short. You can read it all thig (except for Section 3, the effective date, which I cut for some brevity) here: PROPOSAL 9. Sec. 1. PURPOSE This proposal would amend Read More…

Hot! Op-Ed Tax Land

The Worst Democracy-Shredding Bill in Fifty Years

Over the past fifty years I have seen a lot of bills introduced into the Vermont legislature. Of all the bills over all those years, the absolute worst was just introduced in the House, with 87 co-sponsors (all Democratic and Progressive). It’s titled the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA, H.688). The Climate Action Coalition believes Read More…

Tax Land

TCI Interstate Carbon Tax Is Imploding

The ink wasn’t dry on the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) memorandum of understanding before Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) declared it a “boondoggle” that his state would never support. That first domino fell hard, now several others are teetering. In Connecticut, Governor Ted Lamont (D-CT), who has an approval rating of 24 percent and is already Read More…

Tax Land

How Will Vermonters Afford This Agenda?

The Vermont legislature returns in January with a long list of daunting challenges, all with potentially astronomical price tags for Vermonters, who are already some of the most highly taxed people in the United States. Among this list includes a projected 6% increase in property taxes to fund an education system already topping $2 billion Read More…

Business & Economics

Yes, We Do Need to Focus on Our Business Climate

Governor Scott recently took some heat from the media over a statement he made following the announcement by Energizer that they would be closing their Bennington plant and moving its operations to Wisconsin. The governor said: “This decision [by Energizer] is an unfortunate example of why those of us in Montpelier need to work together Read More…

Sports & Outdoors Statehouse

Futile Gun Control Schemes Back Again

By John McClaughry In the wake of horrendous mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, leading political figures are once again demanding sweeping measures of gun control. Former VP Joe Biden, the front runner in the Democratic Presidential pack of twenty, said on CNN that he favored a ban on “military style rifles” He acknowledged Read More…

Tax Land

The Authoritarian/Totalitarian Plastic Bag Ban

By Rob Roper Activists and politicians around Vermont are preening with pride about having passed the nation’s broadest ban on plastic bags and plastic products, with a promise (in the form of a study committee) of more to come. As citizens of an ostensibly free society founded upon the principle of limited government, this is Read More…

Statehouse

A Legislative Wrapup for 2019

by John McClaughry The 2019 legislative session is now history, and it’s worth taking stock of its accomplishments, both positive and negative. On the plus side, the FY2020 general fund budget is balanced (up 3.1%), that is, it’s balanced if the $55 million FY2019 surplus projected last January actually shows up. The main reason for Read More…

Statehouse

Commentary: Sneaking In the Seat Belt Mandate

by John McClaughry The Vermont House is, for the seventh time over 37 years, trying to enact a primary seat belt law for over-18 drivers.  Worse yet, this time its backers are trying to slip their cherished bill through where it won’t be noticed. Fortunately, it’s been noticed.  Here in Q&A format is what you Read More…

Business & Economics Energy

Green Reality: Ripping Off the Poor to Subsidize the Rich

by Rob Roper VPR is doing a terrific series on state programs titled, Did It Work?, going back to see whether or not the promises put forth by government programs actually delivered. So far, they have examined three such programs, none of which met expectations. I wish I could say I was surprised. One story Read More…