The results of a recent Community Survey in Moretown focussed on what residents liked and disliked about their town, and if they are reflective of the rest of the state, they are a loud wake-up call for Vermont’s power structure.
Residents have shouted that something has to be done about crippling taxes and that the best way to do that is more business development.
The message runs counter to Vermont’s anti-business attitude, with the realization that Vermont as a state cannot continue to depend on a tax base that consists chiefly of small farms and businesses, homes, and out-of-state tourists. The most significant barometer of the continuing failure of that driving force is the shrinking number of youngsters enrolled in our elementary and high schools.
According to the annual Town Reports, in the past 10 years, enrollment in the Moretown school has dropped about 18 percent, significantly worse than the state average shrinkage of 10.5 percent.
Why are these numbers so disturbing? A respondent to the survey perhaps answered correctly, citing the “decline in younger families moving here.” The majority of the survey’s respondents reasoned that business development is the best way to restore health to the town.
In Vermont, the priorities set forth by the state are to give government the power to protect the earth and care for the poor. Promoting business is not included in that agenda. Without a proper and balanced tax base, these are noble programs built with troublesome consequences. “Fear of growth will keep us poor,” wrote one Moretown respondent.
Vermont’s policies are so firmly fixed in place they almost guarantee annual increases in poverty, dragging the middle class down to a level where very few future generations of young people will be able to go to college, buy a home or own a new car. They will be paying off grandpa’s debts.
As pointed out by the non-partisan, independent news site, vtdigger.org, yearly income in 2012 in Vermont was about $1,000 lower than in 2011.
Vermont is one of the most beautiful places to live on earth, a fantastic place to raise children. Yet, because of a deficit in jobs, young families are either leaving or declining to live here. These conditions telegraph that perhaps it is time for legislators and other elected officials to begin thinking about changing the face of the tax and development structure in Vermont. Judging from the Moretown survey, their taxpaying constituents are way ahead of them.
John Hilferty, Chairman
Moretown Republican Committee