Editor’s note: This commentary is by Weiland Ross, a resident of Sunderland.
The Vermont legislative session that recently ended was perhaps the most harmful session in our history. There were no real accomplishments. They were only able to pass a budget because the Federal government chipped in over one billion dollars of Covid aid.
Our resources, sparser than usual, desperately needed this infusion of cash. No steps were taken to check the ever-increasing demands for education spending. The Act 250 reform bill changed almost nothing, and the governor vetoed it. The various police reform bills did little to improve law enforcement, but did a lot to cast aspersions on police departments at all levels. Their effect will be to make it harder to perform regular police duties and to make our “catch and release” policies even more weighted in favor of release, not catch.
Two laws in particular demonstrate the Legislature’s unwillingness to consider the interests of Vermont’s welfare as being primary. One is the cannabis bill. This bill seems to be motivated by a desire to raise revenue by any means possible, even if it means legitimizing a harmful substance. The contradictions inherent in this bill are summed up if you consider that 30 percent of the taxes raised by the bill must be allocated to be spent on substance abuse prevention programs. This kind of circular reasoning defies logic.
An even worse law was created by the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, which happened by overriding the governor’s veto. This bill will do nothing that solves any “global” problem. Our economy is so small that if we shut it down completely and return to the good old days of using real horses for power and burning whale oil to create light, the effect on anyplace beyond our borders will be too negligible to be noticed. Several recent articles and columns have detailed how in a few years all use of fossil fuels and electricity will be controlled by an unelected commission with dictatorial powers of enforcement. If this law is actually implemented, not many people with the means to leave will remain in Vermont. The early 19th century lifestyle will not appeal to many.
The upshot of these two laws is simple. Any senator or representative that voted to override the governor’s veto should not be reelected to office. Any new candidates who have endorsed this act should be rejected. Support for the GWSA shows a total disregard for the welfare of Vermont and is inexcusable.
The important thing is that we need a complete new delegation that will represent Vermont’s people, not the interests of the climate lobby. We have been a one-party state long enough. Our “citizen legislature” has lost sight of the idea that they are supposed to put the interests of of their fellow citizens ahead of grandiose schemes to save the world. Their first goal should be to realize that our state is small, with limited resources, and play the game of policymaking with the resources we have, not the resources they wish we had.