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: Mitchell Reports from Montpelier  ( 5937 )
Chris Santee
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« : May 20, 2013, 05:16:15 PM »

from Fairfax Representative John Mitchell:
The legislative session ended on Tuesday may 14 late in the night.  As is usually the case the final days were quite interesting in that attempts were made to either save items or scuttle them.  When the session ended it was with the passing of a General Fund Budget with a 4% increase over last year.  It certainly is not a perfect budget, but it is a long ways from what the Governor proposed and what either body had voted out.  While we are not faced with new taxes on items such as soda, candy, bottled water,etc. there are many concerns about this budget.  It represents funding for 62 new state positions and uses $55 million in one time money to balance it.
We had the chance this year to send a clear message to our growing hi-tech industry showing that we value their business and want to encourage its' growth.  However, the majority sent the exact opposite message by instituting a sales tax on cloud computing services.  Not a good position for Vermont or our embryonic tech business.
Our property taxes continue to rise with a residential increase of 5 cents and non-residential of 6 cents.  It is likely increases will be at least that much for next year.  The education funding system is broken and needs to be revised but the administration and the legislature seem unconcerned and refuse to address the problem.  Local school budgets are what drives our property taxes and Act 60/68 is not workable any longer.  We need to change our system.
The legislature did vote an increase in gasoline taxes in order to right the transportation fund and to capture $56 million in federal funds.  I did not vote in favor of that, but I am very aware of the need.
 On January 1, 2014 The Vermont Health Exchange will be in operation for many folks for health insurance coverage.  A good source for information is Vermonthealthconnect.com.
There were many other items of interest that transpired this session; too many to write about here.  As always if you have questions or concerns please contact me at 802-735-3900, 849-6284 or email jmitchell@leg.state.vt.us.  John Mitchell

Take Care & God Bless,
             chris
csantee@myfairpoint.net
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(802) 782-0406 cell
www.TheFairfaxNews.com
ohhman
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« #1 : May 21, 2013, 12:12:54 PM »

So am I reading into this or is what is stated here is that every time we pass our budget, Montpelier thinks we are all wealthy & just raises our property taxes?  For those of us that feel we are being taxed to the max now, are you saying we need to vote down our budget?  I have always said that all these "pennies to the dollar" we are frequently told during explanations at budget times,  for several different things really add up to lots of dollars to our dollars!
johnmitchell
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« #2 : May 22, 2013, 06:10:03 AM »

Very definitely our school budget effects what we pay in property taxes.  There seems to be a great disconnect with act 60 in that folks think what they pass as a school budget will be paid for by someone else. That is not the case.  Granted so called "gold towns" may pay more but believe me our taxes are reflective of our budget.  This is one reason our method of funding education is broken and needs to be fixed.
cronsteel
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« #3 : May 22, 2013, 09:02:48 AM »

Hi John-

I'd be interested in your thoughts about fixing the Act 60/68 system.

Thanks,

Jesse
nhibbard
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« #4 : May 22, 2013, 06:20:02 PM »

I'm lost on the disconnect for Act 60. How much does Fairfax pay into the State for education and how much do we get from the state?
cedarman
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« #5 : May 24, 2013, 06:52:57 AM »

personally, I'm disappointed to see that a sales tax was not implemented on candy and soda to help standardize out tax system with many surrounding states.  I'm not talking about the "hidden" beverage tax on a per ounce basis (although I would be in favor of a straight up retail tax that is directly visible to the consumer).

I am completely in favor of taxes that I have control over (i.e. taxes on retail items and services that are not needed in the true sense of need, not in the sense of someone really wanting something and saying they "need" it).  No taxes on food items (which are not primarily sugar), no taxes on bulk water (3 liter containers or larger).

As I've said multiple times in the past, and challenge anyone complaining about the current system,  What would you propose as a solution?  More specifically when it comes to new programs or more budget for existing programs,  "What are you personally willing to give up to pay for it?", or "what are you personally willing to pay extra for (in taxes) to pay for it?",   or for the budget cut advocates, "What programs/services that benefit you or your family personally are  you willing to cut?"

It is easy for all of us to say "cut that program over there" especially when said cuts have no impact to us personally.  BUT, what are you willing to take a cut on?  We ALL benefit from some government service or program.
nhibbard
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« #6 : May 24, 2013, 03:57:36 PM »

Do you know how much food contains sugar? High fructose is in tons of things that aren't soda. And what neighboring states? NH has no sales tax or deposit. I propose cutting back on social welfare for those who can work but don't when there are minimum wage jobs. I think we should get rid of the renters rebate program. Why are we refunding rent payments?
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