Business & Economics Statehouse Tax Land

The Peril of the Federal Billions

 On January 5 Gov. Phil Scott delivered an upbeat State of the State message. He declared that though Vermont has many unmet needs  –  his leading example was a “desperate need for more people and workers.” – “anything is possible”. Why is anything possible? “Thanks to the work of our Congressional Delegation – especially Senator Read More…

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 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…

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…

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…

Business & Economics Property Rights

Supreme Court Enforces Citizens’ Rights Over Trump AG’s Argument

John McClaughry On June 21 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion on a case with enormous consequences for landowners facing takings of their property by government. In doing so the conservative majority overrode both the liberal Justices and the Trump Administration. Rose Mary Knick’s Pennsylvania property included a small private cemetery, allegedly the last 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…