Wind: 8 mph
To The Editor:
Your editorial regarding Governor Douglas' resistance to an income tax surcharge as a means for Vermonters to contribute their fair share to fund education has some merit.
I don't know about you, but all taxes I pay come from my income, not some special money tree in the backyard. So whether the tax is based on property value or the total amount of earned income, the cash flow from income will be used to pay property, income, sales or any of the other taxes levied by the State of Vermont.
Under Act 60/68 we penalize success to reward mediocrity.
Spending is the problem; we have doubled the cost of education while enrollment has declined 10 percent. Something is very wrong. What is wrong comes from Act 60/68. While this law is in control, there will never be any meaningful reduction in spending or improvement in the quality and here's the reason why.
A town I live in for example: Warren this year will receive only 32 cents of every dollar it sends to the state to fund education. No matter how many spending controls are placed on the school system in Warren, it will only affect 32 cents; the other 68 cents is out there in the land of Act 60/68 with no spending controls on it. This is true for about 132 towns in Vermont and growing.
The only solution is to get rid of Act 60/68 and replace it with a renewed foundation plan, properly funded by an income tax surcharge on residents and businesses and a reasonable property tax on non-resident homeowners. Eligibility to participate in the foundation plan would be determined by a town's grand list; otherwise a town is on its own to fund education using local property taxes raised and spent locally.
It is the state's responsibility and every individual income earner to equally and fairly fund education, not the property tax payers in the town of Warren or other successful towns. If a successful town is left alone it will grow its economy to fund education locally as it wishes and not be a financial burden on the rest of education system.
Socialism doesn't produce quality, innovation or reduced costs and never will.