Burlington Taxpayer’s Revolt

There was an excellent tournout for the Burlington Taxypayer’s Revolt. City Hall was packed with people eager to speak. It was one of the longest public forums I’ve seen ranking up there with the smoking ban in private clubs and the water fluoridation speakouts. However, I fear that like the smoking ban and water fluoridation pushes, the comments made will most likely be ignored by the city council and mayor.

The only way to make them do something different than they’ve always done is to vote them out and replace them with people who will… if we continue to vote in tax and spend democrats/ progressives or borrow and spend republicans, we will continue to get the same results.

Unfortunately, I have found that many people feel so betrayed and so dis-illusioned with the politicians of today that they refuse to participate in the voting process, which is why we only have a 25% voter turnout in Burlington.  People don’t believe that voting for one or the other makes any difference.  They don’t see that there are other alternatives, real alternatives… good people willing to run and make a real difference.

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Comments made included that the taxes are too high and that the city’s taxpayers cannot handle anymore increases.

There was a major push for the creation of a Citizen Taxpayer Advisory Board. The board would is a collaborative effort of 12 Burlington residents, businesses and city government officials, that seeks to find a relief and peace-of-mind for overburdened Burlington taxpayers, while recognizing the need to fund a vibrant and caring city government.

The mission of the board is to develop a comprehensive long-term economic plan for Burlington; one that recognizes and merges taxpayer compassion and affordability with government funding needs.

Strategies for change:
Begin with optimizing the productivity of Burlington’s city government through an independent efficiency & effectiveness study, with the hiring of a professinal consulting firm. This study will be overseen by the 12 representatives sitting on the Citizen Taxpayer Advisory Board. Government is a de facto monopoly and has little natural incentive to improve productivity. Unless we tap into these productivity savings, taxpayers will continue to shoulder an unfair burden of their tax dollars supporting dysfuntional government processes.

Once the efficiency study is underway, the Citizen Taxpayer Advisory Board should begin the development of a comprehensive economic growth strategy for Burlington’s waterfront. This plan could follow President Dan Fogel’s vision of bringing to Vermont high-tech environmental or “green” industry. In addition, this plan should include creating a vibrant and dynamic waterfront to bolster Burlington’s tourism industry.

Conclusion:
As we grow our economy and tax base through economiic and productivity growth, strategies like these will accomplish the mission of taxpayer compassion and affordability, while simultaneously increasing funds for social and other government services and programs.

“An economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.”

– John F. Kennedy

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