Ballot Item Scare Tactics

In reviewing the results of the ballot items I was reflecting on how some of them passed. It occurs to me that many of the items passed due to really good scare campaigns.

Local Option Sales Tax

For example, the local option sales tax. I was very opposed to this when I ran for city council and made this clear any chance I got as I just saw as another tax we really didn’t need in this city. Mayor Clavelle and his supporters did a really good job scaring people into voting for it by threatening to cut basic city services, as they always do when they want to increase taxes.

I just don’t understand how similar towns in New Hampshire to Burlington can provide more services with half the property taxes we have and no income or sales taxes, but our city government cannot make due with the very generous taxes we already provide?? I just don’t buy it.

Statewide Teacher’s Contract

Another one I didn’t support, as I’m a firm believer in local control. I was very surprised to see the overwhelming support for the city to give up yet another function to the state. I think the big push behind this was to avoid the responsibility of running a school budget and managing employees, that’s just part of the business of running a school system. If the city cannot handle running the schools along with negotiating teacher’s salaries, then they should find people who can or allow other free-market choices for educating our children.

Water Fluoridation

Another big scare tactic campaign. The Vermont health department put on a very aggressive campaign to convince people that the reason they have teeth is because of fluoridation. I am pro-choice on this. People should be able to decide on their own whether they want to consume fluoride.

I believe that a major reason why the anti-fluoride side lost ground on this issue is because they made it a case of science. I don’t think many people wanted to hear the science behind whether fluoride is safe or not. It’s like a religion, you either believe in it or you don’t. Trying to convince someone that fluoride is bad is like trying to convince a Catholic that God doesn’t exist, but if you explain to a Catholic that it’s not right for the government to endorse and force any particular religion on anyone, most would agree with you.

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