We are constitutionalists, and we appeal to all Vermonters to affirm those restraints on government. This is also our justification for repeal of various laws — because our predecessors have greatly overstepped their bounds, and used government to enact every whim without the intended restraint of the federal and state constitutions.
As explained in Pensions, Vermont’s current pension and healthcare promises are greatly underfunded, and this poses a serious financial threat to the state. But Vermont also struggles from a declining conventional dairy industry, anemic economic growth, decay in numerous small towns around the state, loss of student populations, the shock of the EB-5 scandal, and the departure of many of our middle-class workers and entrepreneurs.
Act 250 must be repealed and replaced. It has become a bureaucratic intrusion into Vermonters’ efforts to make a living, increasingly impacting farmers and small businesses that were never intended to be burdened.
Proposed carbon taxes, family leave, and minimum wage laws only increase government mandates that expand Montpelier’s budget and power while discouraging businesses from locating in Vermont. Regressive motor vehicle regulations and fees have both increased steadily in recent years, squeezing working Vermonters. Whether or not the overall economy (or Vermonters’ incomes) improves, the number of state employees — and the salaries of all — increase automatically, as do property taxes. (For instance, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets has grown quite rapidly, even as the number of farms decreases predictably. This is not economically “sustainable.”)
There is widespread abuse in Vermont of welfare and other programs. This is unfair to taxpayers as well as to those who truly need such assistance. Those who receive public assistance fraudulently must be reported, investigated, and stopped from abusing our state. State employees who commit fraud or whose employment is economically unjustified must be similarly rooted out.
Vermonters must be encouraged to grow small businesses, including small farming ventures. There is high demand for Vermont agricultural products: farms preserve our landscape and benefit communities. Tax credits, temporary tax abatement, low-interest loans, market support, and other low-cost incentives must be provided to induce entrepreneurs to invest their energy, money, and hope in successful Vermont businesses. Instead of issuing $10,000 checks to out-of-staters to relocate to Vermont, the Agripublicans propose to enable our own citizens to remain.