health care choice act

Burlington LP News – September 2005

Burlington LP NEWS

September 2005

Sponsored by
The Burlington Libertarian Party
www.burlingtonlp.org

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From the Chair
2. Property Assessments and Property Taxes
3. Police Beholden to Enforce Vermont Constitution and Vermont Laws
4. Fluoride Update
5. Health Care Choice Act
6. Ethan Allen Radio Podcast for Burlington
7. Burlington Libertarians in Action
8. Libertarian Humor
9. Quote of the Month
10. Letters to the Editor/ Submit an Article

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From the chair…


This is our fourth newsletter. We will to provide you notice of current issues facing Burlingtonians, views of other Burlington Libertarians, notices of events of interest, and more.

In this issue will be covering the recent property tax assessments and property taxes, Ethan Allen Radio launch, Fluoride update, Burlington LP Caucus, Health Care Choice Act, and the recent medical marijuana bustl. I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Please feel free to send me your comments, suggestions and your own letters and articles to be included in future issues.

In Liberty,

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
contact me

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Affordable HousingProperty Re-Assessments and Property Taxes
By Jeremy Ryan

Recent re-assessments and property tax bills have many Burlingtonians talking. Many people are confused including the city council on what has happened. I will offer my take on this

Many people believe that the re-assessments are far too high. Much higher than they would be able to sell their home for. I believe this is due to two factors. First, the recent low interest rates enabled people to get far cheaper loans, which allowed people to be more willing to pay more for homes. This has been a problem nation-wide. Then, we have more and more new-comers to Vermont from states where homes cost more, so they are willing to pay more than market-value for a home here, thus raising the market-value of homes in Vermont.

Now, the city has said that this shouldn’t mean anything because the re-assessments are supposed to be revenue neutral, meaning that the city cannot benefit, tax-wise, from a re-assessment. So, why the increased tax burden?? This is because the rates a split between the commercial and residential. While both types of properties increased in value, residential increased more. I believe this is because of the increasing stigma of doing business in Burlington as Burlington has developed a reputation of being hostile towards business when compared to towns like Williston. Another factor, which actually doesn’t make the re-assessments revenue neutral is that city services such as Police and Fire have separate fixed tax rates which are not automatically adjusted for re-assessments. So, whenever there’s a re-assessment, some municipal services receive a windfall in their budgets without even asking for it or needing it, which of course means that the re-assessments are not revenue neutral and this means that property taxes are indeed increasing for the majority of Burlingtonians, including those who rent. It should be remembered that a good portion of the rent you pay is for property taxes.

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Police Beholden to Enforce Vermont Constitution and Vermont Laws
By Hardy Machia

The 5th Article of the Vermont Constitution states: “That the people of this state by their legal representatives, have the sole, inherent, and exclusive right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.”

This means Vermont’s police are bound to enforce only Vermont laws, and the federal government can’t make our police enforce their laws. This was put into the Vermont Constitution at a time when slavery was legal in much of America, and Vermonters banned slavery in our Constitution at the same time. If we didn’t have the 5th Article in our state constitution, then the federal government might have made our internal police capture and return slaves to the southern states. We can all see the wisdom of our forefathers in protecting our individual rights.

But, police recently violated the Vermont Constitution when they confiscated multiple sclerosis patient Shayne Higgins’ marijuana that he was using to help ease the chronic pain associated with this debilitating disease.

Vermont’s legislature passed a medical marijuana law to protect sick Vermonters’ right to use marijuana as a medicine. Now our state and local police must protect our individual rights and serve our sick Vermonters by upholding Vermont law and our State Constitution.

Hardy Machia
President, Vermont NORML
Grand Isle, VT

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Fluoride in Burlington WaterFluoride Update
By Jeremy Ryan

The Safe Water Advocates of Burlington (SWAB) has initiated the campaign to get fluoride out of the drinking water. Many members spoke up against it at the last city council meeting, including Jeremy and Heavenly Ryan. A few simply stated that the city doesn’t have their permission to medicate them with fluoride. The petition drive to get 2000 signatures to put the issue to a vote on the next ballot has begun with great success. 95% of people talked to agree that putting it on the ballot is a good idea and are willing to sign up. There are already over 183 signatures. Below is a copy of what Jeremy Ryan stated to the city council at the last city council meeting…

“I do not support the fluoridation of our public water. Many people I talk to also do not support it. Many did not even know about it. Whether Fluoride is dangerous or not is not the issue. The issue is about force medicating people, which is something we shouldn’t be doing as a city. A lot of people believe in taking vitamin c to prevent colds. Some people believe taking aspirin regularly is good for you. Should we add aspirin and vitamin c to the water next? The city needs to start respecting individual’s rights to decide these things for themselves. From what I understand, Fluoride is the only substance in the water that doesn’t actually treat the water to make it safe for drinking… it is completely unnecessary… take it out and let the individual decide.”

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Health Care Choice Act
Vermont Libertarian Party Press Release

Vermont Libertarian Party urges Vermont Congressional Delegation to Support H.R. 4662

With the passage of Health Care Choice Act (H.R.4662) out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congress has moved one step closer to giving many Vermonters dramatically less expensive health insurance.

State Chair Scott Berkey said, “We urge Representative Sanders, Senator Jeffords, and Senator Leahy to help push this legislation through so that uninsured and priced-gouged Vermonters will be able to access the lower cost health insurance available in other states.”

A poll conducted by Zogby International found that 72 percent of respondents support allowing an individual in one state to buy health insurance from another state. The poll also found that 82 percent of Americans would be likely to purchase such a health insurance plan. The idea has broad bipartisan support.

A 2005 study of the 50 largest cities by http://www.eHealthInsurance.com found that a typical insurance policy ($1,000 deductible, 20% co-insurance) for an individual could be had for as little as $58 per month in a reasonably-regulated locality like San Francisco, CA, and $67.88 in Kansas City, MO. The most expensive cities, however, were Miami, Fl at $151.20; Boston, MA at $267.57; and New York, NY at $334.09. Boston and New York are the only cities within the top 50 with mandated guaranteed issue and community rating laws.

In a 2004 study, http://www.eHealthInsurance.com found an almost seven-fold difference between typical family policies in Kansas City, Missouri ($172/month) and those in New Jersey (a whopping $1,200-plus). Again, the difference was due far more to regulation than the cost of living differences.

Vermont also has community ratings, which drive away insurers and drive up prices. An individual policy here is over $370 — even higher than New York’s — according to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and a policy for a family of four ($3,500 deductible, $30 per office visit) is $999.

Berkey said, “The eHealth Insurance studies show the cost saving benefit that open markets provide. Removing the prohibition on interstate purchasing and giving consumers more choice will increase the general welfare of our society.”

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Ethan Allen RadioEthan Allen Radio Podcast for Burlington
By Jeremy Ryan

The Ethan Allen Radio show is hosted by Jeremy and Heavenly Ryan, who are residents of Burlington. Topics include issues and events which they are involved in. If you have issues you would like to be discussed or would like to be a guest on the show, please let us know.

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Burlington Libertarians in Action… (upcoming events)

  • September 6th 2005, 7PM
    Burlington City Council Meeting
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium.
  • September 13th 2005, 5PM
    Burlington Libertarian Party Caucus Meeting
    We are having our annual caucus at the Fletcher Free Library in the Pickering Room. Election of the Town Committee Officers will held and afterwards there will be time for discussion of issues and getting to know everyone! Please RSVP if you intend to come and contact Jeremy or Heavenly if you have any questions.
  • September 19th 2005, 7PM
    Burlington City Council Meeting
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium.

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Libertarian Humor…

Russmo Libertarian Cartoons

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Quote of the Month…

“The average family pays more in taxes than it spends on food, clothing, and shelter combined.”

Congressman Dick Armey

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Letters to the editor/ submit an article

For information or to submit news, letters, or articles, contact us .

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Burlington LP News is a publication of the Burlington Libertarian Party, 53 Avenue C, Burlington, VT 05401. All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2005.