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Author Topic: Vermont  (Read 45398 times)

Zxcv

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2003, 10:46:26 am »

But it does not contain taxes slipped in under the guise of "user fees", a point I raised before, and a tactic increasingly popular in states that want to expand government under the radar. (Or does it? I'm sooo confused...  ??? )

In Alaska, there is such a thing as a free lunch. The problem is, some day that oil will run out. At that point, with all the social programs that have been bought with it, there will be hell to pay. Unless they are paying for them entirely out of interest from the fund - something that's probably been covered here already, but I'm simply incapable of keeping up with it all...
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JasonPSorens

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2003, 11:00:59 am »

Well, the spending measure takes both taxes & fees (& debt, if any) into account.
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5pectre

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2003, 07:21:55 am »

After reading that, I may have to reconsider Vermont as my first choice.  What a bunch of anti-capitalistic nonsense.

Doesn't look anti-capitalist to me. Looks pretty sensible.

We believe the time has come for all citizens of Vermont peacefully to rebel against the Empire by (1) regaining control of their lives from big government, big business, big cities, big schools, and big computer networks; (2) relearning how to take care of themselves by decentralizing, downsizing, localizing, demilitarizing, and humanizing their lives; and (3) learning how to help others take care of themselves so that we all become less dependent on big business, big government, and big technology.

Anti-big-government, Anti-big-business, sounds like a plan.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2003, 08:47:22 am »

I've had conversations with the author, Thomas Naylor, before.  He knows about the FSP and supports it.  He's unclear about whether he wants the government to break up everything "big," but he does use that same phrase, "big government, big business, big cities, big schools, and big computer networks" over and over, indicating (it seems to me) an overly simple anti-bigness ideology.  (I'm generally anti-bigness too, but bigness is not inherently bad.)  He's a retired economics professor from Duke who moved to Vermont & is active in the tiny independence movement there.  Even if he's not perfect, he's generally on our side and is the type of voter, if not activist, we'd want to attract.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Robert H.

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2003, 07:06:10 am »

Vermont and Maine are the two northeastern states that I've looked at most realistically for a number of reasons.  Maine sports regional conflicts and has a reputation for supporting third parties although its independents tend to vote to the left, while Vermont has more favorable population stats.  Joe's legislative analysis of Vermont also seemed to present a good opportunity for us as far as state level government is concerned.

That said, Vermont's taxation levels, and the possible implications thereof, are troubling.  Vermont ranks second only behind Maine for its burdensome taxation levels (among our candidate states), and has something of a national reputation in this area. I have seen information indicating that property taxation, which was recently reintroduced in Vermont, now exceeds the state income tax as the primary source of state-level funding.  And according to the following site: http://www.act60.org/vpvr.htm:

"When all taxes are combined (property, sales, income, and others), Vermont's taxes are 5.8 percent above the national average on a per-capita basis, and 17.5 percent above the national average as a percentage of income." This was in 1999.  

Another site I came across some while back stated:  "Past estimates have placed the state's average property tax burden at the second or third highest in the nation."  Source:  http://www.retirementliving.com/RLstate3.html#VERMONT  (Note - I just went back to this site and checked it again and can no longer find this reference).

Naturally, I have a desire to keep more of what I make, but the taxation scenario is also worrisome because of what those taxes are being used to support and who might be benefitting from them.  The political sensitivity of the public institutions and benefits sustained by those tax dollars could well curtail our chances for success in scaling back the size and growth of government.

For instance, Vermont's Act 60, passed in 1998, took local property tax dollars out of the hands of communities and routed them through Montpelier where they were to be equally distributed throughout the state's public education system on a per student basis.  It was a blatant redistributionist scheme designed to "equalize" education spending in the name of "fairness."  The result created something of a tax war in Vermont, which continues to this day, but the reality of the matter is that public education is now firmly in state government hands (with over 30% of the state's annual budget committed to it at $8,462 being spent per student).  Thanks to Act 60, state funding of public education grew from 32% of total public education funding in Vermont to 79% in one blow!

Needless to say, trying to reduce property taxation in Vermont would be inextricably tied to an enormous percentage of public education funding and thus a real lightning rod of an issue.  Nor would local or county level activism be sufficient as this money is now routed through the state capital.  So much for the chance of making reforms in one county and telling the rest of the state to mind its own business...

Vermont tax dollars also go to support the second largest number of welfare recipients of all of our ten candidate states (again, second only to Maine).

Anyway, these are a few of the thoughts I had about Vermont in regard to the taxation issue.  We have a relatively high tax burden state in which those tax dollars go to support some extremely sensitive political issues.  Could we succeed in accessing the state legislature and getting some reforms through (or at least making some noise), only stir up a fatal backlash in the meantime, or in the next election?

Sources:

http://www.act60.org/shlaes.htm
http://www.act60.org/index.html
http://www.goodschoolspa.org/downloads/how_does_pa_compare.doc
http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/neei/articles/fisccond/
http://www.retirementliving.com/RLstate3.html#VERMONT  
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=828

Zxcv

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2003, 03:16:04 pm »

Quote
Naturally, I have a desire to keep more of what I make, but the taxation scenario is also worrisome because of what those taxes are being used to support and who might be benefitting from them.  The political sensitivity of the public institutions and benefits sustained by those tax dollars could well curtail our chances for success in scaling back the size and growth of government.
You hit the nail on the head, Robert. Spending constituencies develop, "rent-seeking" behavior expands. If we went there we'd spend a significant amount of effort and time digging ourselves out of the hole, just to get to the place we could start from in a state like WY or ID.

As to Act 60, Oregon did the same thing. There is a silver lining to that cloud, though. It generally increases public discontent with government education, which will speed the day we separate school & state. Just look at it as part of the necessary process of decay of this institution.
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BillG

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2003, 12:41:14 am »

Quote
I agree that the "big business is bad" idea is over-simplified.  While I agree that no one wants to go to war for Exxon, I don't see McDonalds and WalMart as a global problem.  When they build outside the U.S , they are providing jobs for many who are unemployed and raise their standard of living.  I do agree that big corporate monopolies that reduce compitition & consumer choice are bad.

Talk about over-simplified..."providing jobs and raising standards of living"

What do you think about moving a McDonalds and Walmart into Bagdad after the war? It is a "global problem" because (if you remember) the islamic world feels a little "threatened" by our western culture's "over the top" bombardment (pun intended) of images, ideas, and products.

IMHO Walmart is one of those big corp. monopolies that reduces competition & consumer choices...it reeks havoc on locally-owned, usually downtown operated stores. When you purchase something from these large corporation a small amount of money stays in the local economy the rest leaves.

A Low-Down Pricing Strategy:
The Wall Street Journal says, "Walmart uses its size and clout to bleed rivals dry" (11/18/93). They've been sued and convicted ($289,000 penalty) for unfair trade practices (WSJ 10/13/93). "Wal-Mart's hidden prices, not shown on tags, are the costs already mentioned, to the city, to the environment, and to the community."

"Walmart uses a price stacking strategy. Only around 1,500 items are below the average retail price. Deeper into the store about 80, 000 items are actually at par or more expensive. Walmart regularly uses this "price-stacking". In the US, Walmart has been forced to drop its 'Always the lowest price' slogan because it was misleading. To kill local competition, Walmart sometimes subsidizes losses at one store with high prices elsewhere. "

http://www.nuro.com/stopthewal/mit.htm
http://www.sprawl-busters.com/caseagainstsprawl.html

Here is another big way money "leaks" out of a local economy:

http://www.progress.org/archive/js02.htm

Think about this - if the cost of our imported oil were based on true cost accounting (adding in ALL the externalities that are currently socialized - like pollution) rather than being subsidized by our tax/military/foreign/transportation policies would these large, multi-national corporations be able to compete (even on price alone) with locally owned and operated companies producing goods from local resources?  

There is a difference between state sponsored capitalism and a free market - don't you agree?

Quote
After reading it again, I now see that he is a geolibertarian, which explains some of his views.  5pectre, you're in that camp, right?(the whole "can't own land" thing).  So it makes sense that you would agree with him.  I guess I'm a royal libertarian because they still seem like socialists to me.  I don't fully understand that group yet.

As far as I know the author is not a geo-libertarian - this was just posted on a geo-libertarian website (where I captured and posted it) because the ideas resonate with the "geo" view of the world. This whole "can't own land thing" (aka socialism) is a mis-understanding (common) on your part. Private property (title) is preserved - unearned income (socially created)of the landowner is captured as economic rent and distributed back to the community on a pro-rata basis.

http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm

Here is a quote from a Ronald Reagan speech in Chicago of 1975 - arguable one of most 'socialist" presidents in modern history, right? ;)

"I am calling for an end to giantism, for a return to human scale - the scale that human beings can understand and cope with; the scale of the local fraternal lodge, the church congregation, the block club, the farm bureau. It is the locally owned factor, the small businessman who personally deals with his customers and stands behind his product, the farm and consumer cooperative, the town or neighborhood bank that invests in the community, the union local. In government the human scale is the town council, the board of selectmen, and the precinct captain.

It is this activity on a small human scale that creates the fabric of the community, a framework for the creation for the abundance and liberty. The human scale nutures standards of right behavior, a prevailing ethic of what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable".

taken from The Vermont Papers - page 23.

Giantism here at home and it's natural outgrowth globalism abroad destroy local communities and traditional cultures - something it appears muslims (and others) are growing a little upset about...

Jason wrote:

Quote
He's unclear about whether he wants the government to break up everything "big,"

Well how about just giving the free market a chance first?

Let's deal with the externalities questions to level the playing field, plus the corporate welfare & "personhood" issue. Then how about creating local currencies to keeping money circulating locally and land value taxation for efficient use of land to combat sprawl without gov't regulation? Why don't we encourage alternative forms of business ownership (co-ops, worker owned, etc)to discourage absentee ownership who aren't accountable to the community for their actions?

sounds like a good start - what do you think?

In the words of another famous person named King (Rodney): "can't we all (geo-greens & libertarians) just get along people?"

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Zack Bass

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2003, 03:45:32 am »

Why don't we encourage alternative forms of business ownership (co-ops, worker owned, etc)to discourage absentee ownership who aren't accountable to the community for their actions?

Feel free to encourage whatever you like.
Oh wait... did you mean the GOVERNMENT ought to Encourage this crap?  Nah.

How about if we let property owners do whatever they like with their own property.  It's their property, not the "community's."

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Mark Alexander

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2003, 11:24:56 am »

How about if we let property owners do whatever they like with their own property.  It's their property, not the "community's."
While I certainly agree with the first part, I do feel that what people do with their property often has some effect on their community.  If I were to build a slaughterhouse in my backyard, I'm sure my neighbors would notice and have something to say :) .

The real question, to my mind, is: what is the government's role in regulating what people do with their property?  I believe that this role should be devolved to the state and local governments as much as possible, giving citizens, not large distant government bureacracies, the final say in how much or how little regulation they want in their neighborhoods.
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Kelton

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2003, 02:47:07 pm »

Quote
Read the Vermont Manifesto and reconsider Vermont as the best place for the Free State!
http://www.progress.org/2003/vermont1.htm

After reading that, I may have to reconsider Vermont as my first choice. >:( What a bunch of anti-capitalistic nonsense.


 After doing much research on the states and reading the Vermont Manifesto, I realize that if there was any state today that would be a good candidate to secede from the Union, Vermont would be it.
 The stated goals of the FSP however, are not to foment secession.  With the current political movements as they are, and gaining momentum, an independent Vermont might very well resemble an anti-bigness/ socialism-light Finland with a gun-rights and foreign policy a la Switzerland along with a certain sense of limited-left-wing-anti-big/Kaczynski-styled* independent culture.  In other words, a beautiful and pleasant place to visit, but not exactly something most of us here in the FSP are seeking to create.

 The Vermont Manifesto brought up the issue of there being no military bases in Vermont.  After looking at listings online, I see that all of the other 9 candidate states have significant military bases.  Among them, Alaska being the most militarized, followed by Wyoming, Maine, North Dakota, Montana, Delaware in having multiple or strategically significant bases.  Then there is the issue of non-militarized privately-contracted military-industrial centers, such as in Idaho and Delaware.  All of this to which I must ask the question, how is this significant?  Should these factors have anything to do with selecting which state?  Interesting questions.

*Most anti-technology and luddite movements actually oppose  leftist big governments.  Even Kaczynski wrote in his Unabomber Manifesto that leftists were more in favor of 'bigness' and the use of anti-human technology than even the right- wing idealogues.  
« Last Edit: January 27, 2003, 03:25:56 pm by exitus »
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Zxcv

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2003, 03:08:46 pm »

Isn't military presence (at least in terms of money) handled with the Gov1 or Dep variable?

Obviously it is better to have no military bases!
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Zack Bass

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Re:The Vermont Papers
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2003, 03:42:00 pm »

The real question, to my mind, is: what is the government's role in regulating what people do with their property?  I believe that this role should be devolved to the state and local governments as much as possible, giving citizens, not large distant government bureacracies, the final say in how much or how little regulation they want in their neighborhoods.

When I think "Government," it matters not to me whether it is local or not.
Government is FORCE, and must not be used except when well-justified.
Telling me what to do with my land, or taking tax money by Force and "Favoring" certain kinds of uses, is evil unless I am physically endangering a neighbor.

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Chuckster

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Re:Vermont - more reports, articles, stories, data, etc.?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2003, 02:28:47 pm »

I like to read the Caledonian Record http://www.caledonianrecord.com/ to get a better feel for rural Vermont and because it covers the area where my property is.  I especially enjoy the editorial and letters sections.  Since the Caledonian is rather conservative, I also read the Rutland Herald http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/ occasionally.  The Herald is far too liberal in its editorial slant for my tastes but, still, I like to get a look at all angles of an issue so I force myself  :P
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Greggers69

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Re:Vermont - more reports, articles, stories, data, etc.?
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2003, 03:08:09 pm »

Actually all these posts are pretty much save VT from the leftist.  And vermont has the lowest firearm incident rate in the nation.  Of course the Gun snatchers Rated them a D for thier laws.  What a joke!!! Greg
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Racer X

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Re:Vermont - more reports, articles, stories, data, etc.?
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2003, 06:11:43 pm »

I originally posted this on the internet access thread but I'll repost it here since it's on topic.  Internet access will be a very important issue for many FSPers who will tele-commute or work from home.

Vermont is Wired

Vermont has excellent high-speed internet access.  Here are some facts taken from www.thinkvermont.com

Did you know that ... Vermont has an all-digital switching network? And, we have 2 fiber networks that reach into almost every corner of the state. And in 2000 alone, Vermont's telecom service providers invested over $100 million to upgrade the State's telecommunications infrastructure!

Here's a map of the DSL coverage area(shaded).
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/dsl.pdf

Here's a map of the ISDN coverage area(shaded).
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/isdn.pdf

Here's a map of the cable modem coverage area(shaded).
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/cable.pdf

Here's a map of the T-1 coverage area(shaded).
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/t1.pdf

If your town is shown to have access to interoffice fiber, it means that this state of the art technology has been deployed into the town, probably at the central office of the Independent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC). It is probably used to connect voice traffic to the worldwide network, and, if you are a small business with high-speed data connection needs, it means that the infrastructure is well positioned to meet your needs.
Although many telecommunications services can be offered over either fiber optic or copper cables, fiber optic lines provide a relatively inexpensive way to transmit very large amounts of information, and they perform especially well over long distances. They are generally preferred to copper cable for new installations of high-capacity lines.


Here's a map of the interoffice fiber coverage area.
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/interoffice.pdf

One of the concerns businesses may have is how well connected the Vermont network is to the worldwide network. For many businesses, 100% service availability is a key objective, so they want to ensure that they can connect their Vermont operation with the rest of the world via multiple, separate facilities. This can help ensure that if service on one facility is interrupted somehow, they can maintain their operation via a second or third route. The map shows Vermont has multiple connections thus enabling this arrangement

Here's a map of the inter-state fiber connectivity.
http://www.thinkvermont.com/telecommunications/pdf/interstate.pdf


Vermont looks pretty good in the internet department . :)  There are more specific town by town listings on the web site if you need them.  Look under the "Technology" section.

www.thinkvermont.com (Vermont Department of Economic Development) is a pretty good resource if you're looking to start a business there.


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