We hope sensible members of the Vermont Legislature took the time to notice recent remarks made by some members of the Vermont business community.
A Democratic property tax reform bill would create new taxes on services, carbon fuels, gross receipts and a local income tax. But as WCAX-TV reported March 5, some Chittenden County buiness leaders are concerned about the plan.
"If I had known this was going to happen, that steel [for construction of his company's building expansion] would not be going up until I had a better sense [of legislative direction and intent]," said one of the business leaders, Richard Tarrant, to WCAX. Tarrant is the president of IDX in South Burlington, an expanding company that produces computer software for the health care industry. But he now says: "You keep getting this message that, boy, the slightest little change and we are going to get it... so is it socialism? I don't know, creeping socialism?" In Tarrant's words: "I can tell you one thing, that if other states are more capitalistic - it has been proven around the world that those are the ones that are going to succeed."
The business leaders apparently aren't the only ones who think the property tax reform train must slow down. During the same newscast, Progressive Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle indicated that he wholeheartedly supports efforts to change the way education is funded. But the mayor thinks the wheels are moving too fast in light of potential impacts on business and people.
We don't support using Northeast Kingdom tax dollars to build a parking facility for Filene's shoppers in Burlington. But we give Mayor Clavelle credit for knowing how important the ecomomy of downtown Burlington is to his city as a whole. Perhaps he can spread the word to his Progressive friends in the Legislature.
Unfortunately, too many liberal and progresssive lawmakers are trying to turn Vermont into the model socialist state. But as Tarrant said, it's capitalist states that are known to succeed - except in Montpelier. If said legislators succeed in driving more and more businesses out of Vermont, we won't have the tax base to support their pet programs - or any form of property tax relief.