Your opinions


Editor of the Reformer:

Jerry and I read in the Reformer today about Vermont revenue strategies — including a proposed Vermont cap on tax deductions of 2.5-times standard ("Tax pitch divides reps," March 30). At first I thought — oh, no! But the main motivating tax benefit is the federal tax deduction, and the reasoning that people will not reduce their deductions as a result of Vermont tax seems sound.

Yet, our conversation goes instantly to revenue lost to non-taxed internet sales. What stands in the way of collecting sales tax on internet sales to Vermont customers?

We are saddened every time we hear of friends and family purchasing on-line, to the detriment of local book stores and places like Sam's that anchor our downtown. At least Vermont could capture the sales tax; that seems far better than increased local sales taxes, lodging taxes, or reductions in services or further degradation of public infrastructure.

What would it take to figure this out? Is this something our attorney general would have to go after? Could we partner with other states? Who is leading the research and lobbying on this cause? Are there books on the subject? A study group in Vermont?

We are already throwing our tiny weight at the GMO Goliath. This is also a worthy cause, with the difference being a huge economic and cultural boost when we win it.

We could "save the world," at least a tiny bit of it, if we could crack that internet sales tax nut, and not accept helplessness.

Editor of the Reformer:

Here's another little factoid I learned concerning water. Almonds are grown in California, and almond trees need to be watered year round. I takes 10 gallons of water to produce one almond.

Editor of the Reformer:

I generally love to read the Fish column. However, in a recent column ("No reason to expect anything different," April 1), I believe he made a common mistake. He used the term "Christian" as synonymous with "far right-wing conservative Christian." It is not.

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Those in the latter group have tried to co-opt the name, but they are far from the meaning of the word. A Christian follows Jesus. Worshiping Jesus is not the same as following Jesus. Jesus was a homeless Jew who taught unconditional love and radical equality. It is Jesus who welcomes everyone to the communion table. Everyone.

The very thinly-disguised "religious freedom" law passed in Indiana is, at best, discriminatory, and at the worst, a legalization of hate crimes. Hate is not a Christian value.

The far right conservatives rename things. If they can't get people against the Affordable Care Act, they rename it and demonize it. They lower pollution standards and call it the "Clean Air Act." Even the Supreme Court got into this action with horrors such as "Citizens United."

I know many devout Christians who are in the LBGT community. At St. Michael's Episcopal Church where I attend, we welcome everyone. Please don't feed into the hatred of the far right.

Don't allow them to take the Christian label as their own. Fish, and other writers published in the Reformer, please specify the far-right conservative wing, and don't tar the rest of Christianity with the brush of hatred and intolerance.

Editor of the Reformer:

There are long-range strategies in the assault on public education in general and the Vermont school system in particular, that are not discussed or taken into account by the people most impacted. Forced on the defensive by attack after attack, it doesn't matter what battles are lost or won, the tide of conflict erodes their power inexorably.

The millions spent on this project by Wall Street, and ultimately the men whose grandchildren will never see the inside of a public school, flood the media like snow-melt in mud-time: They don't have to argue their case, because we, and our legislators, do it for them in all innocence.

Our only hope, if there is any at this late hour, is to be a demand for adequate public funding, both for education and for political campaigns (and healthcare) as a public good and a human right, period. It is this that the oligarchs dread, and spend so much money to de-fuse.

In other words, we, the people, must return to the conversation that matters.

Editor of the Reformer:

Hats off to the New England Youth Theatre for its touching and unforgettable rendition of "Little Women." But it leads me to ask: "What has become of all that virtue?"


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