Tonight, Heavenly and I attended the Chittenden County FreedomWorks meeting. I thought it was a very interesting meeting with a good turnout. We discussed the top issues facing Vermont including Health Care, Education, Taxes, and Property Rights.
The mission statement for FreedomWorks is:
“To return the principles of lower taxes, small government, and economic growth to Vermont through a combination of organized grassroots pressure, direct lobbying, paid advertising, and creative use of alternative media.”
The following are the primary issues (but not limited to) the group will be focusing on in the upcoming legislative session:
It was widely agreed that the proposed single payer program is very dangerous and that it will most likely not be supported by unions such as the teacher’s union, senior citizens that don’t want to give up their medicare benefits, blue collar workers and small business owners, which will face higher payroll taxes. Market-based solutions were suggested as being much better. This includes the use of health savings accounts, tort reform aimed at reducing legally-defensive medicine, legalizing the interstate purchase of lower cost health insurance (just like any other kind of insurance), and lower premiums for citizens who live healthy lifestyles.
The group supported efforts to expand parental choice. The group also does not support the current attempts to expand the public school system by two years at taxpayers’ expense to include Universal Preschool for all 3 & 4 year olds. It was suggested that expanding the responsibilities of the public school system to include more grades will inevitably lead to higher property taxes — which Vermonters can not afford at this time. It will increase regulation on the most vulnerable small businesses that are performing vital services for the community, while decreasing their ability to compete. And the group was most worried that as a result, parents will face fewer and less flexible choices for their childcare needs.
The resulting Kelo vs. New London Supreme Court decision is of great concern. It’s believed to have created a demand for legislation that would protect property rights in Vermont. The group wants to work to ensure that such legislation is not only passed in Vermont, but also that it has teeth, and that it is relevant to threats posed to property owners in Vermont – protecting the control, enjoyment, and value of owners’ property from over-zealous government action.
The groups believes that we need to begin laying the groundwork for fair and reasonable taxpayer protections, such as a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.