Editor’s note: This letter is by Tom Licata, a resident of Burlington.
“Not seeing the forest for the trees” is an idiom. It means missing the big picture by focusing on the various details instead of discerning an overall pattern from these various details.
With regards to Representatives Stebbins and Bluemle’s recent FPF State House Update, I was prepared to analyze many of the House passed bills, which they laid out in their update.
But as I began to dissect each “tree,” I found, number one, it would be a very long posting, probably too long for a Front Porch Forum submission. But in analyzing many of these bills I began to see a disturbing pattern, and it is this that I will focus on.
Increased taxation, greater regulation, government expansion, civil society’s contraction and loss of individual freedom and business mobility are the forest.
The bottle bill (H.175), the modernization and recalibration of Vermont’s tax system (S.53), the bill requiring registration of construction contractors (H.157) and the COVID recovery bill (H.315) all increase revenues to the government while adding greater burdens on business and individuals. In addition, the roughly $6 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities was, once again, deferred and not resolved.
Pre-COVID, Vermont has had more deaths than births and more people leaving the state than coming in. The February 2021 Tax Commission report, commissioned by the Vermont Legislature, has plans to expand the sales tax to the service industry and to increase income taxes.
The forest isn’t green and pristine. The forest is browning and wilting.