Free our Economy
Vermont’s state government has grown unwieldy and wasteful. In order for Vermonters to thrive economically, these swollen tax and regulatory burdens must be lifted. Government waste and excess must be reduced, along with overly burdensome restrictions on new and existing businesses. Only then can Vermont’s blob-like tax burden be reduced, and its income tax receipts increase via economic stimulation.
Vermont’s teachers, and state and municipal workers, have been promised pension benefits and health insurance support that has been grossly underfunded. This fiscal mismanagement has involved accounting hijinks as well as subpar investment decisions. The Agripublicans propose to accurately quantify the actual obligations owed, and find ways to fund those promises before they become a financial disaster for the state.
The scourge of opioid and other addictions impacts ALL Vermonters, and the problem continues to grow. We propose to improve counseling services for parents of substance abusers, for pregnant women, and for those who wish to wean off Medically Assisted Treatment. The Agripublicans also propose to develop an innovative pilot project employing people in recovery in a farming venture to reinforce their growth while contributing local food and income to the community.
Preserve Local Schools
Vermont must nurture and preserve its small rural schools, which in turn support strong communities. Act 46 is unpopular for good reason, and should be repealed. Vermonters can do better, and we will! Not every school is the same: creative options are being considered, including increased school choice through vouchers, and possibly privatizing some underperforming schools. Vermont has the highest cost per student in the nation for education, as a function of median income. We must save our local schools, not bus children for hours to distant locations. And we must make this affordable!
Vermont’s progressives garnered national media attention in 2019 by enacting the most expansive abortion procedure protection law in the nation in order to preserve existing third-term procedures. At the same time, Vermont has avoided recognizing the unborn victims of criminal violence as human beings, itself a horrid injustice to Vermont mothers whose babies are killed in utero by domestic assaults or other criminal conduct. The Agripublican compromise is simple, and supported by a large majority of Vermonters: ban third trimester abortions except where the health of the mother is at risk; recognize an unborn child as a human for purposes of the criminal law.
Efforts to improve Vermont’s water quality must continue, as well as protecting Vermonters from toxic chemicals. Supporting small farms while curbing more urban and suburban pollution will strike a better balance in government response. A so-called “Carbon Tax” is merely government using Vermont’s environment as excuse to tax residents even more, and will create inequities, expand government expenses, and do nothing to help Vermont’s ecosystem.
Support our Farms
Numerous low-cost opportunities exist for Vermont to build upon its farming “brand” by encouraging small farms. There is growing demand for Vermont agricultural products, and farming builds soils, preserves landscapes, and increases food security. There is great economic opportunity in small-scale farming, which also nurtures Vermont’s traditional culture and small communities. Regulatory impediments to farming must be sensibly reduced, as with other small local businesses.
The current progressive Legislature seeks to tax cannabis at 16-29%, an absurd proof of government greed. The Agripublican proposal is to tax cannabis at the same rates as for alcohol, with strict penalties for provision of this drug to minors or for impaired driving. Cannabis is now legal, with only an unregulated black market in Vermont (though users can travel to neighboring states to get all they want) -- this is WORSE than previous prohibition because the supply is increasing with no filter to protect the young. A majority of Vermonters favor legalization; fentanyl-laced heroin is rampant despite prohibition efforts; progressives wish to tax cannabis at such high rates that the illegal market will continue to thrive.
No new gun laws
Vermonters have lost many firearms rights in recent years: the Agripublicans call for a cessation of further encroachments. No new gun laws. No waiting periods for gun purchases, or restrictions against Vermont manufacturers of firearms. No limits on where Vermonters can carry their guns, especially if those restrictions compromise First Amendment Free Speech rights (such as recent efforts to prohibit attendees of political events from carrying their firearms).