vermont

Does Increasing the Minimum Wage Work?

Increasing the minimum wage shouldn’t make much of a difference as the starting wage, whatever it is, is always going to be at the bottom. When you increase the minimum wage the wages for everyone else will go up to compensate for the difference as the person that’s been working somewhere for a year isn’t going to want to make the same as the person who just started yesterday and so on.

At least temporarily should give everyone a boost in buying power, especially those that earn the least as it would make the biggest difference to them. The labor unions like this policy because many of their contracts are tied to a certain amount/percentage over certain wages so it looks good for the unions when their memberships wages are going up.

However, then the prices of goods and services must also go up to pay for the extra labor cost unless you import products outside of the country, bring in outside workers or replace human labor with machines, which of course reduces jobs.

Also, it then excludes a group of workers that may be lacking in skills from competing for the easiest jobs since if you have to choose between two job candidates, one is slightly skilled more than the other but you have to pay them both the same wage, who are you going to go with? The skilled one. Now if the unskilled one could offer to accept a lower wage at first in order to be trained, you may go with that candidate. I was in this situation myself a few times.

If this is not how it works, then why are they being so cheap… why not increase the minimum wage to $100/hour?

Vote No on Gun Control Ballot Items in Burlington

Sign Wave with Loyal Ploof - Ward 4 City Council Candidate

Jeremy Ryan, Roy Collette and Loyal Ploof sign waving for Ploof’s ward 4 city council campaign. Ploof is a Libertarian and gun rights supporter.

Ballot Items 6, 7 and 8 are about gun control and are probably the most controversial ballot items on the ballot. My guess is that like most things that city government tries to do this is just a step  towards a complete gun ban in Burlington, which I’m sure some of the supporters of these 3 ballot items desire.

Ballot Item 6 – Proposed charter change RE: Police confiscation/seizure of weapons during domestic abuse incident?

At first glance, this may seem like a good policy. However, it’s fairly vague. What qualifies as a weapon specifically for starters and how do you determine for sure who’s weapons are who’s? Don’t you run the risk of seizing a weapon that the potential victim may need to defend themselves against the attacker?  What specifically qualifies as a domestic abuse incident? We are not even specifically proposing to take weapons away from a convicted abuser, but just a suspected one, what qualifies as a suspected abuser?

The current laws provide sufficient tools for police to deal with domestic abuse. If a citizen does harm to someone with ANY weapon, whether its a gun, bat, knife, or fist, they deserve to face consequences and the victim should be taken care of whether its special protection and/or compensation.

However, this charter change seems to be unnecessary and could actually put potential victims at greater risk as a weapon may be the only defense someone may have against an abuser.

Ballot Item 7 – Proposed charter change RE: Ban on firearms in any establishment with a liquor license?

This one is an easy one to vote no against for me. Many bars, such as Manhattan Pizza, like the idea of not allowing firearms in their bars, so why can’t they just do it. A bar owner can set the rules as they see fit for patrons… why ask the government to do their own dirty work. I imagine many don’t want to come off as the “bad guy” and anger existing/potential customers.

This charter change also would encompass a lot of properties in downtown Burlington as it means a ban of guns in all restaurants, bars, and many hotels. Again, I imagine this is only another step towards extending the ban to more areas to eventually cover the entire public area, just like what’s happening with smoking bans.

The funny thing about criminals and abusers is they usually don’t follow the laws, so charter changes like this will not stop them from holding weapons, but will certainly make them feel more confident when committing crimes that their victims will be disarmed.

Ballot Item 8 – Proposed charter change RE: Safe storage of firearms?

Another really easy one to vote no on. This one would require firearms not in our immediate possession to be locked up. What sense does it make to keep a gun locked up if want to have it available during an emergency.

My wife and I called for police help a few years ago and the response time was far too slow, over 2 hours I believe even though we are about 2 miles away from the nearest police department. If one feels comfortable depending on them or something else for protection so be it. However, if other citizens want to be able to defend themselves their own way who are we to stop them from protecting themselves as they want in their own home?

Constitutionality of the Charter Changes?

jesse-pinkman-hitlerEven if all three pass by Burlington voters it may not matter since they would need state approval and it’s been argued that all three are unconstitutional. Other towns have tried passing gun control bans, just to be turned down by Montpelier. However, it’s possible that these might have a better chance as they are not as strict.

Also, lets be honest here. Most of Burlington is quite peaceful. We have very little gun violence that I can think of. Is gun policy really something we need to be worried about? Don’t we have much bigger issues to worry about in Burlington? Perhaps its a distraction from the real issues. The last gun violence incident I know of in Burlington is when the Burlington Police gunned down a resident in our area who was armed with a shovel.

Remembering Karen Kerin – Vermont Libertarian Candidate for Attorney General

karen-kerin-2Karen was a fiscally conservative, pro-liberty supporter of the law as created by the nation and state founders.

While campaigning, Karen fought for victim’s rights, regulatory reform and gun rights. Karen felt there was too little justice for the victims of crime. Karen felt that we had too many laws and regulations that intruded on our liberty to use our own personal property as we see fit as well as costing the state much needed jobs. Karen also felt we must protect our state’s rights and as an example she spoke against the health care bill and wished to join other states in suing the federal government to overturn it. Karen also was a ardent supporter of the gun rights and spoke against actions to limit personal gun ownership.

Karen was a very committed and passionate candidate for the Vermont Libertarian Party. She ran for office even in poor health traveling the state, attending state committee meetings, campaigning and fighting for victims and for what she felt was right, despite her personal suffering and poor finances.

You can read more about Karen Kerin at her 2010 campaign website: http://www.karenkerin.com.

Request Atlas Shrugged to be Shown in Vermont

Atlas Shrugged is coming to theatres April 15th… let them know that you want to see it here in Vermont!

The official Atlas Shrugged movie website now has a their own proprietary "Demand Atlas to your town!" service.

Just go to the link and enter the zip code 05401 (for Burlington) and your email. You should enter 05401 to help concentrate the requests to better our odds of getting a showing.

This can really make a difference in whether it’s shown here or not… they are monitoring these requests closely.

Remember, Atlas Shrugged is an independent film, being distributed independently. It’s up to us to make things happen and US includes YOU.

Again, go to the link below now to add your support:

http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/demand

Thoughts on Burlington Telecom Crisis

Burlington Telecom

I believe that Burlington Telecom’s current financial situation is a concern for the City of Burlington’s economic health.  The city already has so much on it’s plate, I don’t think that it needs the extra burden of trying to keep a risky upstart afloat in an extremely competitive industry such as telecommunications.
 
As the telecommunications industry seems to be an ever-changing one with many players crossing into each other’s markets (increasing competition from other phone, traditional cable, satellite tv, wireless phone, and even internet companies).  How can a small local firm be expected to continue making the huge investments needed to keep up and why is it necessary to the city’s future?
 
There are two options I can see that would be fair to everyone involved…
 
1. Burlington Telecom should repay the loan back to the city of Burlington.  Burlington Telecom could then issue bonds to the public market and then use the money to both pay of the loan and continue their work.  Then, Burlington Telecom could be spun off to become a completely private entity… perhaps even allow the current users of Burlington Telecom to take stakes in it to possibly become a COOP like City Market.
 
2. Alternatively, if Burlington Telecom must stay as part of the city government, they should meet their obligations as they agreed to.  They should repay the loan, seek financing outside the city government and continue to build out within Burlington first. If they succeed there, then they could be given permission to expand their services beyond Burlington.  If Burlington taxpayers or city employees/elected officials time are going to be used for the benefit of Burlington Telecom, then ALL residents of Burlington that are paying taxes to the benefit of BT should have access to BT’s services before residents of other towns do.  It’s only fair.
 
Either solution should require the risk to be shifted from the city government to outside private interests and most likely should involve an increase in the service rates that customers pay to allow Burlington Telecom to have some chance of being sustainable.

New Vermont Libertarian-based TV Show

The Woodchuck Report is a new tv show on Channel 17.  The show is hosted by two local Libertarians, Bonnie Scott and Ruel Wheelock. 

The show runs monthly, the second Friday of the month.  They have done two shows so far and a new show is comes out today, 6/13.

Scott and Wheelock explore the Libertarian view of local and national politics on the show.

The last show on 5/9/2008 had topics including State legislature ajorns, national popular vote plan, potholes, vermont gubernatorial race, Catamount Health, activists arrested at General Dynamics, War deployment, The Intervale/ fines, ground water access, 4 year terms for Governor.

Below is the video archive of the show…

Tom Licata Announces Run for State Senate

This week Tom Licata formally announced that he is running for Vermont state senate on the Charlie and Ernie Show.

As I mentioned in my blog entry, New Website: VermontTaxRevolt.org, I expected that Tom would run for office in the near future.  Tom has been planting the seeds for this campaign for some time by giving talks and meeting with people about the economic problems facing the state.

Tom was a guest speaker at our Vermont Libertarian Convention this year. He gave his presentation and engaged in a good discussion regarding the problems with members.

Tom is very knowledgeable on the problems and he’s not afraid to speak is mind and say what people may not want to hear. I believe he will be one of the most principled candidates running in that he will not play populist politics.  He will stick to the facts as he believes them and fight for what he believes to be right.

More information:

Vermont Scores Last in State Economic Report

Rich States, Poor States

Darren Perron of WCAX News reports…

Which state has the worst economic rating in the country? According to the American Legislative Exchange Council– Vermont does. A new report puts the Green Mountain State dead last in a ranking of all 50 states.

According to the report, it’s because Vermont has some of the highest taxes in the country– personal income, business, estate and property taxes. In addition, the ALEC cites a high minimum wage and rising workers comp costs

But economist Art Woolf says the new study won’t impact new businesses or the expansion of existing businesses. He says it simply points out the obvious.

“I think it will bring attention to the fact that Vermont is a high-tax state,” says Woolf. “Any study that’s trying to rank states is going to have some kind of bias. You can’t put every factor in every kind of study. This study focuses on things that doesn’t make Vermont look too good. A lot of them are taxes. There are some liabilities in Vermont and this study points out what some of those are.”

Some have called the ALEC a right wing, pro-business group. Woolf says they are considered a conservative advocacy group and points out that a lot of liberal groups typically put Vermont first when it come to state rankings– like the most livable, or the best place to raise kids. But when it comes to taxes, the only place where Vermont scored well in this new study is the sales tax, which is relatively low.

I browsed through the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index Report referenced in the story and I like how it gives clear numbers to easily compare how one would fair in different states.

I did a little comparison between the individual reports for Vermont and New Hampshire (which ranked 20 in the report) and it appears to me that someone in the upper low class and middle class range would obviously fair better in New Hampshire in terms of cost of living as they have no income tax, no sales tax, and no estate/inheritance tax. New Hampshire residents also have more education freedom and they have a lower corporate income tax which should help encourage more businesses to locate there, which would produce more jobs, therefore strengthening the economy and lessoning the individual tax burden.

In regards to groups that put Vermont first when it comes to state rankings on which is most livable, or the best place to raise kids, I think this really depends on the individual/family’s economic background when they start. If you are wealthy to begin with, the taxes in Vermont won’t be a big deal to you and yes, you will probably find Vermont be a great place to live and raise kids, but if you are starting from scratch and trying to become financially independent while raising a family it can be very difficult and the irony is that the working middle-class people here are forced to work so much and sacrifice so much that they often don’t get to enjoy all the things that make Vermont liveable, which they are forced to pay for because they are too busy working to pay for it. For these people, Vermont doesn’t look so liveable.

Also, it appears from other studies that I have read, that states like New Hampshire score similar to Vermont in terms of quality of life and in many cases better… in terms of healthcare, poverty, education. I really believe that lower taxes across the board and less restrictions on what people can do with their property so that people can be encouraged to engage in more trade, create more jobs, work less and enjoy more time with their family.

More information:

Ron Paul in Vermont

Burlington Libertarian, Ben Mayer, of the Vermont Ron Paul group is asking for your help in getting a total of 1,000 signatures by Christmas in order to get Ron Paul on the ballot here in Vermont as a Republican candidate to win the March 4th primary.

The Vermont Ron Paul group has achieved 700 signatures so far, which leaves 300 left. However, they are shooting for 400 to be safe.

If interested in helping out, please contact Ben Mayer at 845-399-0201 or by email at mayer.benjamin@gmail.com with “Ron Paul Petition” in the subject line.

You may also find out more about the Vermont Ron Paul group at the following links: