Saturday March 9, 2013

Tax the rich Editor of the Reformer:

I was born and raised in Brattleboro, and I’m a single mom of two children. I’m also a college graduate with two degrees. I work full time and volunteer in my community. Myself and many members of my community struggle to meet our needs such as healthcare, higher education, childcare, transportation, housing, healthy food, and jobs that pay livable wages.

Here’s my story: as of today I have $58,416.24 in student loans with at least $9 of interest being added every day. When I pay my monthly bill of $370.71, only $92.02 will go to the principal and $278.59 will go towards my interest. For the last 18 years I have raised my children for under $23,000 a year. Over this time I’ve vacillated between many different social services in order to sustain my family. I’ve worked up to three jobs at a time, for poverty wages.

Even while I am struggling along with my neighbors, the talk in Montpelier is that because of a budget deficit our only option is for "everyone" to tighten their belts and take more cuts. The reality is that we are not in a budget crisis, we are in a revenue crisis -- there are many extremely wealthy people in Vermont who benefit off the current tax system because they do not have to contribute equitably. Poor and working people pay a greater percentage, while being the ones to bear the brunt of cuts.


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Governor Shumlin’s proposals to cap Reach Up benefits and limit the Earned Income Tax Credit is one more example of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. It is an attack on all of our residents who struggle to meet their fundamental needs in an economy and landscape that gives little hope for enough creation of jobs with livable wages.

We need a people’s budget, which puts people needs first. This means first looking at the human needs in Vermont, and then raising the money in a way that is equitable so that everyone pays what they can. The budget is a reflection of our moral priorities, and I call on our legislators to invest in the people of Vermont.

Shela Linton,

Brattleboro, March 1

Too many taxes

Editor of the Reformer:

I said it in the past: You might as well throw your wallets and purses in the trash because you are not going to have any money to put in them anyway. The Democrats and their lefty allies, the progressives, are going to make damn sure of that. Pete and the gang want to nail us with a 10- to 12-cent tax per gallon on fuel oil, a tax on soft drinks and energy drinks and they also voted to stick it to us even more on our property taxes. Yup, almost 70 million in new taxes. Wow, they really care about the elderly who are struggling on fixed incomes to hold on to their homes along with the rest of us and that’s really going to help Vermont business. I know the business community in New Hampshire loves it because of all the Vermonters who shop in tax free N.H. Vermont needs a tax revolt. We need to have thousands of Vermonters show up at the Statehouse and put across to those taxaholics that we have had enough. And people wonder why I loathe left-wing Democrats and progressives.

Gary Mosher,

Saxtons River, March 4

Tax the rich,
part two

Editor of the Reformer:

I am appalled that the Republicans are unwilling to raise taxes on folks who make more than $5 million. They say they want to compromise, but won’t raise revenues by taxing millionaires? Let’s not forget that the Democrats and the President already compromised and changed their initial request from raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 to doing so on those making $500,000.

Who do these Republicans think they are? And, more importantly, who do they think the rest of us are? Actually, they know who they are, so they are protecting themselves and their fellow millionaires and billionaires.

There are those who are not millionaires or billionaires yet support the draconian cuts at the expense of working people with modest incomes, or at the expense of our elders and children. I suppose it’s on principal -- no taxes. I hope that they understand it’s at their own expense. Of their food security, Social Security, military security, safety on the roads and bridges and cuts in education funding that affect student loans, and staffing at all levels from Head Start and special education to state colleges.

After all, millionaires, whose money working people make for them, don’t have to care about these cuts because their incomes allow them to pay for amenities such as private education, personal drivers and gated communities, as well as quality healthcare insurance and mortgages on second homes. Ironically, millionaires pay a smaller rate of tax, yet get more benefits. That list would take pages to write.

And keep in mind, that unlike the rest of us, millionaires get raises and bonuses whether the US budget was/is balanced or not -- recent history proves that true; their companies got bailed out even as they layed off those who work for them.

According to most economists, balancing the U.S. budget is not good economics right now because it will not produce jobs but reduce the number of jobs because money that supports jobs program and education will be cut. That’s not news. It’s common knowledge and basic if/then thinking.

Furthermore, those of us middle-class folks who pay the higher rate of taxes are not milking the government or our neighbors when these monies support us with jobs programs, social security or veterans benefits -- both literally, vis a vis the military, and figuratively, for those of us who work each day to get by or are looking for work. We are getting something back on our investment in our country, our state and our towns. This is the rainy day we all "save" for.

But the Republicans, the millionaires, no matter what party, Tea or otherwise, have forgotten that. Consequently, it’s our job to remind them.

So let your/our three U.S. legislators know how you feel with a letter or e-mail or call to their offices. It makes a difference when they can tell their conservative colleagues that their constituents are behind them. They need our support to fight the good fight for us with words and, if it ever gets to that, votes.

Jackie Gould,

Brattleboro, March 4

The mess
we’re in?

Editor of the Reformer:

How many of you readers read Page 5 in today’s (March 4) Reformer? "Tax bills for rich families approach 30-year high," and right below that is, "Spending cuts seem here to stay," and then to top it all off, to the right of that is, "Kerry says U.S. releasing millions in aid to Egypt." I’m talking about $190 million dollars, yet we are being flushed down the toilet. We don’t count anymore? As Fish would say, "What the hell is up with that?" If we have billions to send to other countries that aren’t gonna pay it back, why are we in the mess we’re in? We need to empty out Washington and get some one in there who cares about the citizens of the United States of America first.

Roger L. Andrews,

Brattleboro, March 4

One way to
cut taxes

Editor of the Reformer:

It is time to give the property taxpayers a break and this is one idea that will work for our behalf.

The school boards should cease immediately the funding of fall sports with taxpayer funds. In Europe this expense is accomplished by corporate sponsors and the parents of the students that participate in the related sports. This action would take a large tax burden off of the homeowners in their respective towns.

It would also be great if when you entered the main corridor of the schools you saw trophies for math, science and other academic endeavors, as well as sports, which is all you see now at bellows Falls Union High School

Christian Blake,

Westminster, Feb. 25