Republican or Progressive Tax Reform?

(I thought this diary would initiate a useful conversation on GMD. – promoted by Sue Prent)

     In this election I have heard a lot from the Republicans and Libertarians about the pressing need for tax reform.  My question is, what kind of tax reform are we talking about? Republican tax reform? When most Republicans start talking up their support of tax reform, they are actually talking about reducing taxes for corporations and the people intent on piling up more money than they can possibly take away. The fact is the Vermont Republican Party, once the Party of George Aiken, is now increasingly a shadow of the Tea Party. While there remain good principled Republican politicians (to name two: Senator Rich Westman, and former Senator Vince Illuzzi), these few are outliers in a Party increasingly dominated by the right wing.  Today there are more Darcy Johnsons than there are Bill Doyles (an unfortunate fact).

    Let’s face it. Tax reform in the contemporary Republican conversation means an effectual clear cutting of the social services that directly or indirectly affect every single Vermonter (from healthcare to highway crews). For the majority of Republican politicians, the goal is less about reform and more about rolling back the gains made by both the public as a whole, and working families in specific over the last six or sixty years.

    We do need tax reform, I agree.  But we all need the type of tax reform that directly benefits our entire community, and I think we all know what that means.  

    Vermonters are independent and self-sufficient, at least more so than the rest of the Nation. We cringe at the thought of a clear cut and many of us talk organic and sustainability.  So, why can’t we talk about these concepts politically as well as in reference to the Green Mountains beneath our own two feet?

 

    I agree with reforming taxes on a certain level but really, the political talk grows on thin soil. Perhaps it’s time to throw a nice sized portion of that dialogue onto a steaming political compost heap and start (re)thinking and talking about self-reliant revenue sources that cut the corporations and the filthy rich out of the equation altogether.

    Can’t we talk about generating money through sustainable logging and public power plants for renewable energy?   If Fountain Forestry & Green Mountain Power can do this for revenue, why not the public? And wouldn’t it be far more interesting to talk about publically run ski resorts and other such venues that would enrich our lives through recreation while also generating revenue for our communities than the year-after-year drone on tax reform.

    Unless we are plain and simple talking about lowering taxes on working people, and raising them on the rich, let’s just skip the tax reform debate. Instead, let’s have conversations that include a State Bank – a Vermont Bank – a sustainable source of our own monies that help to generate revenue to (re)invest in Vermont and Vermonters. Let’s have conversations that discard the word “fair” and build on the concept of resilience for everyone.

    These are not radical ideas, unless your notion of radical is North Dakota (who currently has a State Bank and the lowest unemployment rate in the Country). In short, these are common sense ideas.

    The vote is Tuesday and a candidate that has consistently worked toward a more sustainable Vermont for each and every person is the Progressive State Senator Anthony Pollina. Of course, we each vote for who we think will best serve our communities, but it is worth the time taken to look at Pollina’s record. Do we really want to keep having the same conversation about tax reform or can we engage in a progressive dialogue that changes the construct of the conversation all together? I leave that for you to decide. Hope to see you at the polls on November 4th.

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