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Press Release

    The Vermont Report

    06/01/2005

    Health Care.

    The Far Left Got It Right.

    Really. Go out and pick up a copy of the latest Seven Days – Burlington’s weekly free gift to the far far Left. The May 25 issue has a cartoon in it that is worth seeing as the artist nails the problem with the Senate Heath Care plan right on the head.

    The picture is of a boss sitting at his desk going over some papers; a machinist operates a drill near by. The boss says, “Kiss your company health benefits goodbye, Henderson – if we dump our health plan you get to pay the Senate’s new 3% tax for generic government insurance, and the company saves money – You won’t mind, will you.” Henderson’s expression captures perfectly what every Vermonter should be feeling about this the Senate plan.

    If the 3% payroll/3% income plan to fund basic coverage for the uninsured comes to pass, many employees who currently have coverage through their employers will find themselves in Henderson’s place – dumped into a cheap government-run plan that only covers preventative care, and not hospital or catastrophic. They can go to the doctor for a check-up, but if the doctor actually finds anything wrong that requires hospital care, the Hendersons of Vermont will be out of luck. Or, as the Governor warned, more Vermonters will be paying more money for less care.

    Kudos to Mr. Newcomb of Seven Days for making this point so well. Now, if only they would take a similarly insightful look at the House Plan’s likely 135% increase in the payroll tax….

    What do we get for an extra 800,000 bucks?

    In order to spend more time figuring out how to cover an $80 million Medicate deficit, among other things, the legislature voted itself $800,000 to fund an extended session. (Hmmm. Where will they find that money?) So, what kind of thinking are we taxpayers getting from this investment? What new breakthrough ideas about how to restructure 3.8 billion dollars of our economy and make it work?

    Well, in a recent article in the Stowe Reporter, Sen. Susan Bartlett, Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, came up with, “What we have to do is… learn as we go.” And that, “What’s scary is that we can’t make this big change [the government ultimately taking over our health care system, with no apparent idea what to do with it] and have all the answers first.”

    What’s truly scary is this degree of willful ignorance that our elected officials are bringing to this debate. It’s one thing not to have all the answers; but proponents of this plan don’t appear to have any answers -- even to the most basic questions and obvious problems regarding government-run health care.

    Not Such a Sweet Deal

    As she’s going, Senator Bartlett has learned one thing: she wants to pay for government-run heath care by, “placing a new tax on all foods that have some kind of sugar listed in the first four ingredients on the label.” She then states, “I don’t think there are many folks who will argue that all the sugar we consume is good for us.”

    We can think of some. Like the Vermont Maple Sugar industry. Then maybe Ben & Jerry’s, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and every General Store in the state.

    The idea of a tax that strikes at the heart Vermont’s identity -- and is philosophically based on the understanding that our most recognizable products (albeit among many others) are not “good for us,” is stunningly bad policy and PR.

    What’s worse is that this tax would hurt everyone who goes to the grocery store on a budget, or has kids who eat cereal for breakfast.

    Nevertheless, Sen. Susan Bartlett means it. On Friday, March 27th, as a guest on the Mark Johnson radio show (WDEV), Sen. Bartlett was asked by the host if she really intended to propose this tax. Her reply: “You betcha!”

    Contact Sen. Bartlett, and let her know…. Well, just make it up as you go along!

    Susan Bartlett D-Lamoille
    888-5591, sbartlett@leg.state.vt.us
    And, visit one of Vermont’s many wonderful Maple Sugar Farms. Buy some syrup, have a maple creamy, and let them know you appreciate all they do for Vermont.

    Early Education

    A Cheap Trick by Sen. Collins

    The 1200 postcards FreedomWorks sent out did an excellent job of warning private childcare providers about the dangers of S.132 (The taxpayer-funded, early education bill) and prompting them into action. These very busy small business entrepreneurs, mostly women, took time to contact their elected officials, register their objections and earn a seat at the table.

    In an interview with the Brattleboro Reformer, Sen. Don Collins, Chairman of the Education Committee (D-Franklin) was clearly not pleased by this sudden outbreak of democracy, but conceded, "Maybe [FreedomWorks] did some good because they got people talking."

    That’s what Sen. Collins said; here’s what he did…
    Before the “good” talking really had a chance to begin, Collins pulled a back-door political trick that will squelch the concerns of private providers entirely. Rather than allow a proper debate to occur in the House and Senate Education Committees, (a debate that would now include the objections of many private daycare providers), Sen. Collins instead slipped the controversial funding provisions of S.132 into the Budget Bill, where it will likely be passed – out of context, and without review.
    This cheap political tactic -- an underhanded way to pass an unfair law – demonstrates a intolerable lack of respect for a group of small business people who are almost entirely women entrepreneurs performing a difficult and vital service in their communities by deliberately cutting them out of the political process.

    This action clearly illustrates that proponents of S.132’s objectives are worried that the longer private provider have to learn about this bill, the less private providers will like it.

    What we are witnessing is the hostile takeover of a fragmented group of largely family run, small businesses by a powerful, tax-payer financed monopoly. The VTNEA is facing a steadily declining student population, while their own numbers continue to rise along with the overall cost of education in Vermont. Rather than accept logical cuts in spending, or a reduction in employees to match the reduction in students, the teacher’s union, instead, is trying to expand its market share by taking over the preschool industry.

    Contact Sen. Collins, and let him know that private daycare providers deserve more respect and better treatment from our elected officials.
    dcollins@leg.state.vt.us, 802-868-7975.

    Contact Gov. Jim Douglas, and let him know that you support his denunciation of this tactic, and that the budget bill should not pass with the S.132 language buried in it.
    802 828-3333 or toll-free in VT only: 800 649-6825

    Other Notes

    FreedomWorks-Vermont State Director, Rob Roper, will be the key note speaker for Middlebury Republicans on June 8th at 7 PM in the Ilsley Library.

    He will also be speaking to Rutland Republicans at their Pasta & Politics dinner on June 14, details TBD.

    Important Information

    To find your legislator's name and phone number, go to www.leg.state.vt.us.
    To leave a message for your legislator, call: 1-800-322-5616

    To find local media contact information, go to: http://www.freedomworks.org/vermont/media.php

    To let FreedomWorks keep you updated on this and other important issues go to www.freedomworks.org/processor/signup.php, email me at rroper@freedomworks.org, or call 802-999-8145.