Rural Route Today recently hosted a presentation by Richie Westman, Vermont Commissioner of Taxes at the Charlotte Town Hall. Although his projections may not all come true, the future looks daunting as Vermont state revenues dip and education costs—funded primarily with property taxes—continue to rise. Benefits such as tax exempt properties, local option tax, TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts, income sensitivity payments and the Current Use Program eat away at revenues. Granted, these programs are valuable tools for many people but the end result is that the spending is more than we can afford.
So, what’s a citizen to do? At least this year in Charlotte voters finally said NO to some spending proposals. I’m afraid getting out of this mess will take more than a few “No”s to do the trick. “Conservative” is not always a bad word to be associated with the right wing, just as “Liberal” doesn’t have to mean excessive social programming from the left wing. Typically, it takes two wings to carry the bird, so we must find a happy—or at least balanced—medium. Some good old-fashioned frugality and plain common sense may be the ticket.
Voters at the Polls in Charlotte, Vermont - Town Meeting Day 2010