If there is one thing that drives me crazy these days, it is taxes! Now I want you to know that I know absolutely nothing about how much we have to pay, but I do know that for us, the amount of property taxes we have to pay is impossible. When we bought our house 47 years ago, our property tax was $300. Again, I am not a complete dope and I know that taxes go up each year, but what has happened to us is our tax has gotten so high that we have to spend the whole year worrying about it and then trying to figure out how to pay. And you know what? I have finally figured out the whole property tax issue where we live.
Every now and then I hear on the radio and TV that the governor or one of his people wonders why Vermont young people are unable to stay and work in Vermont and live a decent life here. Well, no one asked me. The reason is that the taxes in Vermont make it almost impossible to work and live here. So, obviously the young people are forced go to some other state and try to live and work there.
But what is worse, I think, is that where we live, as senior citizens, we are living on a fixed income. We have lived here for 47 years, worked here, raised our children here and have always intended to live here forever. But now so many people have moved to the Valley from somewhere else and they are willing and able to pay whatever taxes are demanded. Not only that, they are anxious and drooling to buy the houses and property belonging to senior citizens who have lived for generations on their land. But now, these older folks are being driven off their land because they are being taxed to death!
And do you wonder why property taxes are so high? Well, being no expert, I can tell you that our school budgets are one of the main reasons. Every single year the school budgets go up and in our area the budget is always passed without a murmur. And I also know that the NEA has a stranglehold on each and every school. In the old days the thought was that the local teachers should be paid about the same amount as those who lived in the district. But no more. Now good teachers are paid well and bad teachers are paid just as well. An interesting scenario.
The other day I was talking to a friend who has a good friend who works at Spaulding High School and we all discussed how Spaulding decided to eliminate bussing their students to school. They could no longer afford it and believed that without the buses they could keep their budget lower. Now I am sure when that policy went into effect there was a huge hue and cry, but it seems to have worked. I don’t know how much the buses cost our district but I am sure that it would probably help to lower our humongous budget.
And maybe if we could keep our school budgets and taxes under control, we could allow our senior citizens to stay in their homes and enjoy their older years in peace. And maybe we could convince our young people to stay and allow the Vermont lifestyle to continue as we all used to know it.