More of the same
I am retired, and I am a member of the Vermont Workers’ Center and the American Legion Jay Peak Post 28.
I attended the budget forums on Vermont Interactive Technologies on Nov. 5 because I am concerned about people. Many people are less fortunate than I am. I shared that I see many struggles in the community.
My neighbors struggle to balance heating fuel, food, health care, pay their electric bill, put gas in their car to get to work. You should take all these into account while creating the budget. Education is important, but we also need to invest in making sure families can meet their basic needs so children can succeed.
Last year was the first time the governor’s administration held hearings early, but then we just saw more of the same. We heard that there were going to be no broad-based taxes last year, then again this year, but last year the Legislature passed a gas tax. That seems like a pretty broad-based tax to me, one that hits the working poor really hard.
There is no free lunch — everyone has to pay according to their ability to pay, which means the more fortunate among us need to contribute more. We can’t just keep hitting the vulnerable again and again. We need to raise money in a progressive way so we can create a budget that puts people first and doesn’t just put the money first. After attending the hearings I really am left with the fear we are going to see more of the same this year again. We, the people, must continue raising our voices so we can have a system that is truly participatory.
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