John Freitag | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

John Freitag 
Member since Mar 21, 2018


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Re: “At GOP Gathering, Gun-Rights Activists Fail to Secure No-Confidence Vote in Scott

At a time of increasing division it is more important than ever that we do all we can to ensure the fairness of our democratic process. This is best done by allowing open debate and discussion, not by manipulation. It is vitally important that any controversial items be on an agenda so that all parties wishing to participate have proper notification. It is why agendas for Selectboard meetings must be posted in at least three public places and if you have it on a town website.
We all do not get what we want all the time. However if people know there is a fair process, had a chance to have make their case, and been treated respectfully; even if you do not get your way it is far easier to accept the results.

15 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 08/10/2018 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Guns and Taxes: Scott, Stern Face Off in First Gubernatorial Debate

In a time of polarized extremes, there is some comfort in having a moderate, knowledgeable and practical Governor who takes his responsibilities seriously. Vermont has an open primary where voters can vote in any party they chose. While one may not agree with all the Governor has done, those who appreciate his thoughtful, though sometimes unpopular leadership, might consider the value of his continuing in office for another two years and voting for him in the Republican primary.

22 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 07/26/2018 at 7:19 AM

Re: “Walters: VT Dems Hire New Executive Director

While there are difficulties and compromise is needed when governmental power is divided between parties, it is far better than what happens either in Washington D.C. or Vermont when one party is completely dominate. The value of Mr. Massey's goal of a veto proof House is questionable.
We are still recovering from the excesses and poor policy choices made during the Shumlin Administration when one party controlled everything in Vermont. Likewise damage being done by an ideologically driven Administration in Washington, where there are not the needed checks and balances, will require years of recovery for our nation.

20 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 07/14/2018 at 7:36 AM

Re: “Tradin’ Paint: Days and Nights of Budget Brinksmanship

For the last few decades from Snelling on, Vermont Governors have been a moderating force on an activist legislature who often attempts policies better suited for the national stage than what can be successfully accomplished or afforded in our small state. A good example is that Democratic Governor Howard Dean had as many vetoes as Governor Scott. The exception was Governor Shumlin and we are still dealing with some of the consequences from his failed tenure.
In many ways in spite of some unneeded rancor and over the top partisan rhetoric on all sides, the fact is that Governor Scott has been a consistent stabilizing force that has prevented some of the more well intended yet totally impractical laws, like a Vermont stand alone carbon tax, from being implemented. At the same time the legislature has played a useful role as a consistent conscience on needs to be addressed. Many on all sides will be disappointed for many different reasons with what happened in Montpelier; such is the nature of politics. However all in all, the results of the past two session have not been that bad and sure could have been a lot worse had not Governor Scott been at the helm.

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 06/28/2018 at 8:25 AM

Re: “Scott Blinks in Vermont Budget Battle, Will Allow Third Bill to Become Law

A better headline for this article might have been "Governor Scott Acts Responsibly and Puts Good of Vermont Ahead of His Own Political Future". Once again Governor Scott has made a tough decision and put the good of the people of the state ahead of his own self interest. This move which many of his supporters will find disappointing and may cause him loss of more votes and perhaps the nomination as his party standard bearer in the fall election was the correct thing to do.
As a public official myself, who has more than once has had to concede a position I held dear, there are simply times when you have to put the good of the community first and not tear the walls down because you were not able to get all you wanted. Governor Scott put up a good fight and did much to temper property tax increases at time of record surplus revenue. Putting the fiscal health of the State at risk with a shutdown however was a bridge too far. Although he will be condemned from all sides, he should in fact be commended for this difficult decision.

42 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 06/26/2018 at 7:28 AM

Re: “Walters: Budget Deal Remains Elusive

Please people, this is our State's fiscal integrity you are playing with. I realize the following does not address how either the Governor or Legislature would prefer to spend our money but it is a reasonable compromise and perhaps the best that can be done at this late hour:
Use the record surplus revenue to
1. Move all the non-K-12 legislative mandated costs out of the Ed Fund and back to the General Fund. Balance legislative costs with revenue and no property tax increase would be needed
2. Use the remaining over 20 million in surplus for the legislative priorities of filling Reserve Funds and under funded pension funds.
An added bonus besides not shutting our government down would be that future budgets will be more transparent and some of the confusion regarding how school budget relate to property taxes would be resolved

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by John Freitag on 06/25/2018 at 6:40 AM

Re: “Walters: Scott, Legislature Still Talking Past Each Other

Mr. Hoffer,
Thanks for the questions. Here is a list of programs that have been added to the Education Fund since that fund was opened to other than K-12 spending controlled by school boards when Shumlin was Governor and there was a super Democratic majority in the legislature. They are not Democratic programs per say but the decision to allow them in the Ed. Fund where they would be paid primarily with property taxes was. The implications of this were never made clear and many people still think money in the Ed Fund only covers school budget approved costs and not these many legislative mandated items. Whether or not these programs value is worth their cost is not the issue at this time. The shifting of their cost to the Ed. Fund which is funded primarily by school property taxes is. Here are the figures from Education Fund Outlook December 2017 :
Adult Education - 3 million
Prison Education - 3.3
Essential Early Ed - 6.6
Renter Rebate - 7.9
Flexible Pathways - 7.4
Teachers Pensions - 7.7
Act 46 merger incentives - 14.1
Reappraisal and Listing - 3.3
Other - 1.1
With record surplus revenue and since some of these items already taken out of the Ed Fund in the proposed budget, there is the ability to put the remaining items back in the General Fund and still have over 20 million in surplus funds.

26 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by John Freitag on 06/21/2018 at 10:17 PM

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