Vermonters have a choice to make about the direction of our state this November. Will we allow ourselves to be taxed to death, or not? Here, very bluntly, is what’s at stake. Since the last election in 2016, Vermont Democrats/Progressives (they are now, for all intents and purposes, the same thing) put forward bills that would raise tens of millions of dollars in new taxes, tax increases and fees. They proposed five — count them, five — new carbon taxes alone on gasoline, home heating fuel, etc. They proposed a new payroll tax, a new “fee” for every parcel of property in the state. They proposed an increase in the rooms and meals tax. They wanted to put a “surcharge” on income taxes. They even brought the state government to the brink of shutdown because Democrats/Progressives in the House and Senate insisted — yes, insisted — on raising property taxes. Gov. Scott’s veto (he vetoed 12 bills that would have raised taxes and/or fees on Vermonters, including three budgets), or threat of a veto, backed up by at least 51 Republicans in the House of Representatives, stopped almost all of these tax and fee increases from happening. Unfortunately, Republicans simply did not have the numbers to completely stop the Democrat/Progressives from pushing through their property tax increase as part of the overall budget bill. As a result, we’re living with the impact of that property tax increase today. It isn’t pleasant. The Democrats/Progressives know they have little to no chance of beating Gov. Scott, so, their strategy is to defeat enough Republican House and Senate candidates through a “Blue Wave” to achieve a “supermajority” capable of overriding every veto of every tax and fee increase. The Democrats/Progressives are well-funded with out-of-state money from Bernie, well organized, and energized to do this. Only you, the voters, can stop them by re-electing Gov. Scott and — and this is every bit as important, if not more so — electing Republicans to the State House and Senate. So, voters, here is your choice: Will you give Vermont Republicans the numbers we need in the state House of Representatives and Senate to stop this freight train of devastating taxes and fees from becoming law after November? Or will you give the Democrat/Progressives the “supermajority” they crave so they can force through all these and more unaffordable policies, even over a gubernatorial veto? Currently, there are just 53 Republican members of the House out of 150. It takes 51 to sustain a veto. That’s almost no margin for error. Adding to our challenge, 12 incumbent Republicans are not running for re-election this year. New candidates have stepped up to run in their place. It is a steep hill to climb, but if we want to stop a tax avalanche in January, Vermont Republicans can’t afford to lose any races anywhere up or down the ticket. And, if your household budget looks like mine, you can’t afford to let them lose. So, please, get out to vote this November, and when you do, please vote Republican. It is the only way to make a difference. Deborah Billado is the chairwoman of the Vermont Republican Party.

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