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Watch: The Value of Land is Created by the Community. This explains clearly why the community has every right to regard land and natural resource values as a source of revenue. The revenue eliminates any need in Vermont to tax income or business. It would close the budget deficit, and rebuild our infrastructure.

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Prosper Vermont is now live on the web!

This Vermont Tax Reform Initiative is now in draft for the purpose of obtaining feedback from all Vermonters. We are constructing a wiki, a site on which concerned citizens can comment, give feedback & ideas, and even collaborate on writing the new legislation. Vermont is unique in that we are all legislators,

When approved by the Vermont Legislature, this measure will eliminate most taxes which discourage productive enterprise and commerce in Vermont. The following taxes will be abolished:  the sales tax, the existing property tax on both real and personal property and the corporations tax.  The first $150,000 of annual personal income will also be exempt from the state income tax and the maximum income tax rate will be reduced to 8%.

Public revenue for state and local government will primarily be provided by a tax which economists agree does not penalize productive activity — a tax on the rental value of Vermont’s enormously valuable land and natural resources: the Vermont Commons.

Improvements to land, including all buildings, will not be taxed.  Vermont’s public assessors already value land and improvements separately for each parcel of real property, so the new tax system simply builds upon a valuation system which has long been in place.

Key advantages which this tax reform initiative provides:

The University of Vermont’s Gund Institute estimate that new taxes on natural resource extraction and use will generate revenues of $1.2 billion annually. Taxing unimproved land values produces $1.07 billion annually (based on 2007 land valuations).

However, this is a conservative estimate based only on existing resource valuations.  It does not take into account the large increase in land rental value which will certainly occur as demand for land in Vermont rises sharply in response to the elimination of existing taxes which now fall largely on those individuals and businesses who produce the goods and services that constitute the economic output of our state.

As producers respond with increased investment and new enterprise to the elimination of taxes which currently reduce productive activity and commerce, Vermont’s economy will surge forward and many new job opportunities for unemployed Vermonters will be created.

Because the ownership of our state’s most valuable land is heavily concentrated into the hands of a relatively small number of Vermonters and non-residents (often corporations such as AIG and Entergy whose owners mostly reside outside of Vermont), the large majority of Vermonters will pay substantially less in taxes under the proposed new system than they do now. Vermonters who rent will benefit hugely under this reform as will a high percentage of working homeowners, especially those households with two wage-earners.

Farms will benefit immediately, as they will not be taxed on improvements such as buildings, capital equipment and income. This tax reform will remove price and development pressure from the small family farm. The decline of Vermont’s small family farm will be reversed.

Suburban sprawl will be halted and reversed. Development will concentrate residential development in the cores of towns and villages because with a land tax, land owners have no more incentive to hold urban land vacant or underutilised.

Senior homeowners aged 60 or older will be able to defer until July 1, 2020 all land taxes in excess of the property taxes they paid in the year preceding the July 1, 2011 effective date of the reform.  The legislature will have the power to extend that payment deadline even further into the future.  But all senior citizens, homeowners and renters alike, will enjoy the same reduction in state income taxes and sales taxes as will all other Vermonters.

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

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  1. NEW SOURCES OF STATE FUNDS
    by peter28moss@gmail.com
    2010 (and 2012 if necessary) Vermont Senate Candidate

    The Vermont Senate passed its version of the 2011 state budget on April 28, 2010, on a 23-6 vote. The Senate budget amounted to $4,700-million which was $38-million short of projected income.

    By charging bottlers for the groundwater they now take for free, Vermont could collect about $375-million each year. By charging broadcasters for the airwaves they now use for free, Vermont could collect another $375-million each year. Just these two sources amount to $750- million per year.

    By voting against funding mindless and purposeless wars at the other end of the globe, Vermont should call a referendum to cut off war funding and we could save another $1,500-million, the estimated Vermont share of the military activity in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and who knows what’s next. Instead of having a $150-million budget deficit, Vermont should have a $3,000-million budget surplus which is 20 times the current shortfall.

    I hope voters will ask their unrepresentative legislators in Montpelier, why we don’t have a giant surplus instead of a shortfall. And also ask why the re-elected professional career politicians only know how to raise taxes and cut staff and services, instead of seeking new sources of revenue. Why is it that no incumbent ever raises new sources of revenue as a budget solution? Because they are bribed a pittance by public enemy lobbies, which incumbents need to buy name recognition ads for re-election. Ask your unrepresentatives if that is not so?

    If voters re-elect the incumbents, there will be more unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, low/no interest, high borrowing costs, bail-outs, too-big-to-fail and all the rest. By replacing the demopublican incumbents with independents, a new era of prosperity can dawn in Vermont. With re-electing incumbents, we are all doomed to repeat the past, over and over again.

    On second thought, we could do in Vermont what they do in Alaska: they distribute their oil royalties to every man, woman and child that has lived in Alaska for a full calendar year. In 2007, every Alaskan received a dividend check for $1,654. If Vermont collects te $3,000-million budget surplus and distributes it to 600,000 Vermonters, each of us would receive a dividend check of $5,000 each year just for living in Vermont. But first, you have to replace the Vermont Legislature with new independent candidates who want to serve the people, not their re-election.
    Read Alaska’s story from the Associated Press published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on the other side.

    44A:\newmoney.wpd — Oct. 15, 2010 — 428 words
    =====================================================================
    http://www.seattlepi.com/national/332411_dividend20.html 2007 Alaska oil royalty is $1,654
    Last updated September 19, 2007 9:22 p.m. PT
    By STEVE QUINN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    JUNEAU, Alaska — Nearly every Alaskan will soon receive a check for $1,654, their share of the state’s oil riches, Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday. The dividend checks are derived from the state’s oil royalty investment program and distributed each year to eligible residents — just for living here for a full calendar year.
    Slightly more than 600,000 men, women and children in 248 communities will receive the dividend this year, according to the Revenue Department. The state’s estimated population is just over 670,000 people.
    Anyone who has lived in Alaska for a full calendar year can apply for the money — including children. Of those receiving checks this year, about 41 percent — or 244,695 of the state’s residents — were born in Alaska.
    “I want you guys to invest this wisely,” Palin told the large crowd that gathered for the announcement of this year’s dividend in Valdez, the terminus of the state’s 800-mile trans- Alaska oil pipeline.
    It’s a perk that separates Alaska from the rest of the union and was recently parodied in “The Simpsons Movie,” which prominently features the television cartoon family’s journey to Alaska.
    But for many residents, the check is no joke.
    It means getting caught up on bills and supplementing income that for some is a week-to-week living in Alaska, where the cost of living is high in part because of its distance from shipping centers in the Lower 48.
    The state established the Alaska Permanent Fund in 1976 after North Slope oil was discovered. Dividends have been paid since 1982, ranging from $331 to a record high of $1,963 in 2000. Last year’s dividend check was $1,106.
    If a resident has received a check every year since the first was issued in 1982, his total take in the program would be $27,536.
    © 1998-2010 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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