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Legislative Notes for March 24, 2011

March 20, 2011

The health care reform and miscellaneous tax bills emerged from committee this week as expected.  The health care bill with its far sweeping changes to our current healthcare system is very concerning to me.  It is intended to lead us in the direction of a single payer health care system.  It establishes a five member board appointed by the Governor to develop a benefits package for all Vermonters.  However, it does not outline the benefits package nor does it project the costs or the mechanism of payment.  It is unbelievable to me  that the Governor and the majority party have developed a plan with very little detail or direction on one of the most basic and important issues in our lives; our health.  We have outstanding health care in Vermont and it is very clear to me that the uncertainty surrounding this plan will ultimately have a negative impact on our level of care.  Doctors and other healthcare professions are already being told by their employers to get licensed in surrounding states.  This is a bad sign for your family and mine.  I will do my very best to continue the fight on this important issue  but, I need your helpPlease call the Governors Office at 802-828-3333 or your Senator at 802-828-2228 to express your questions or concerns.

The miscellaneous tax bill as passed out of the committee will raise approximately $30 million in new taxes.  This includes a change in the way your income tax is calculated, an increase in cigarette taxes and new provider taxes to doctors and other healthcare facilities.  It also includes the new school tax rate which may include an incentive for districts that met their challenges for change target.  This potentially creates a tough decision for me.  On one hand, I feel very strongly about the need to support the school district for their hard work in meeting the budget goal challenge established by the legislature last year.  However, I don’t think I can support all of these new taxes on doctors to pay for it.  Also, It will be interesting to see if the Governor who campaigned on not raising taxes supports all of these new tax increases.

The appropriations (budget) will be voted out of committee this week.  This means that we will be debating the three most important pieces of legislation in the same week.  We will begin reporting to the floor everyday at 9:30 AM and working late into the night.  Another sign that we are moving closer to adjournment.

As your representative, I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am very interested in hearing from you.  During the session, I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My web-site address is www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

 

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