Dr. Howard Dean’s Act 60 Makes Towns Sick

Under the newly enacted state property tax, there is a recapture provision which is known in Vermont as the shark pool. Under the formula, certain towns with higher valuations are forced to send money to Montpelier for redistribution to other towns. This can amount to as much as 70% of what the town raises, according to AP.

This method is sometimes called “the Robin Hood formula” and others, like author John Irving (“The World According to Garp”) have called it “Marxist”. Irving lives in Dorset.

The AP story said there was a great deal of anger from the audience toward Dean and the most heated exchanges came when the Chairman of Manchesters Board of Selectmen, Ivan Beattie, said “Act 60 seems to say, Lets punish towns that have worked hard to become successful.”

“The economic hubs of the state are being affected by this and the economy of the state is going to be damaged by this,” said the town father.

WCAX TV reports that Dean said “I believe Act 60 is not harmful to the state. I do believe it is harmful to some communities and I am sitting in one right now. But in terms of the state as a whole, I would never have signed Act 60 if I thought it was harmful to the state and I dont think it is.”

The World According to Dean is apparently a dark world, where its better for all to struggle equally than for any to be very prosperous.

It is also dark because he wears a blindfold and forgets that Vermont is bounded by strong competition from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. and the world. The rising burdens of new, and increases of existing, taxes under Act 60 make it harder to compete for the state as a whole.

A common-sense remedy of targeting more state aid to needy towns didnt have much appeal last year when the liberal Vermont Legislature, in its feeding frenzy over a court decision, moved state tax policy far to the left by enacting Act 60.

If Dr. Dean the Physician had practiced medicine the way he practices politics, he would have weakened his strong and healthy patients, reasoning that it would not have been fair for some to be weak while others are healthy. (Why should some be blessed with health just because they exercise and make good food choices or simply have good inherited genes?)

At the meeting, some told the Governor that Act 60 had dampened business growth. A Shaftsbury woman told him that the law had saved her and her family, including her mother, about $600 but “You lost us 8 months worth of work. You really didnt save me anything.”

The Governor brought 5 personal bodyguards in plain clothes instead of the usual one, and the meeting place was crawling with police of various kinds.

Clearly this is a man who doesnt feel close to his people. Its telling that the state response to public criticism is to increase security.

Ralph Colin of Dorset told Dean at the meeting, “It strikes me that you just dont get it,” and AP reports that his words were met with “spirited applause”.

Dr. Dean doesnt get it because hes committed to a medieval medical practice, now applied to taxation, called “bleeding the patient”.

He has tied down the towns through a state property tax and brought on the biggest leeches (educational bureaucracy) to suck out their blood.

When they complain loudly, his remedy is more bodyguards and a bedside manner which looks them in the eye and says, in effect, “now its your turn to suffer”.

Its time to switch doctors.

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