Archive - Oct 2010
Author’s note: This essay begins a second series of essays and reflections about politics and the moral life. Each essay develops a theme from a work by the philosopher Plato, entitled “Laws,” which he wrote shortly before his death in 347 B.C. “Laws” is written as a dialogue involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos; Megillus, from Sparta; and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself.
STATE BUDGET: I am very concerned about the state budget shortfall! However, I do not believe that raising taxes is a solution! My first solution to this problem would be to call for a complete outside review of all state expenditures. The last time we did this was in 1977, and it saved our state millions of dollars.
STATE BUDGET: We have a situation in which the budget shortfall is driving policy, when it should be the other way around. This is a defining moment for the Legislature as we weigh “bad” against “worse.”
STATE BUDGET: Shift taxes from earned income in business and wages to unearned profits on land speculation and natural resource extraction. There is $1.2 billion per year in tax revenue on resources alone, but corporations pocket this revenue. The Legislature acts in the interests of corporate lobbyists and land speculators, driving business and wage-earners away from Vermont. See the Prosper Vermont citizen legislative initiative at ProsperVermont.com.
STATE BUDGET: The state budget shortfall is currently projected to be around $120 million, but the shortfall will likely be larger than that; the proposed savings from the Challenges for Change, if successful, will not begin immediately but will phase in over time.