Weekend Update

Here is more information and updates from the last two posts from the weekend. Couldn’t post last night because FairPoint Communications – our Internet provider was flaky.

Updating the post about the Governor, the podcast was available and can be found on Mark Johnson’s podcast site.

Here is the quote from the Governor about not adding more taxes on tobacco products. He actually says “So, in my judgement, if you’re going to assess a tax, I think it should be assessed on people who can most afford it.” Exactly what the legislators who want to levy an additional tax on Vermonters in the top two tax brackets have been saying.

It starts at 27:10. The emphasis is mine.

Mark – Do you want the Senate to put back in the tax you proposed on dentists?

Governor – The answer is yes and I’ll tell you why. Right now, as you know hospitals and most healthcare providers have an assessment on their bills that allows us to draw down Federal dollars and we then reimburse them for their share. Dentists in Vermont, many provide services to Medicaid and Medicare, low income VTers who need their teeth fixed too. Many of the dentists don’t. Under my plan, which is assessing that same assessment on dentists. Those who provide care for the poor will come out better financially than they are right now. Those who refuse, will pay the 3% assessment, and I think that’s fair. Now what the House’s proposal is instead is to ask the hard-working guy, man or woman in VT, who’s going to work – 9, 10, 11 bucks an hour perhaps – they’re going to stop at the store for a pack of cigarettes. They’re going to pay 20, 30 cents more for that pack of cigarettes and it’s going to come out of a working person’s pocket. I would rather – and this assessment on the dentists – I think it’s fair, and I don’t understand why the House didn’t support that particular provision. I think it makes a lot of sense.

Mark – I’m a little surprised to hear any politician advocating against a cigarette tax increase.

Governor – Let me tell you about the cigarette tax. People who smoke cigarettes have an addiction. We all know that as we make progress in reducing cigarette consumption, there tends to be more low income people who are smoking than higher income people. That’s just the way the numbers are. So, in my judgement, if you’re going to assess a tax, I think it should be assessed on people who can most afford it and I do not believe that the person who is struggling to make ends meet, who’s going to pick up their pack or carton of cigarettes on the way to work, who’s trying to make ends meet in a real tough economy, should be asked to pay more because they have an addiction. Let’s get them off their addiction, but I don’t think a cigarette tax is going to drive that.

Following up on the post about Malalai Joya, Democracy Now! had an interview with her on Monday’s show. You can watch it or download the podcast if you follow the link.

Monday’s show also included a discussion of the protests – half a million strong – on the streets of London over the weekend. They were protesting the cuts in services that will impact the low and middle class while the rich and corporations get tax cuts. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.

There was information about UK Uncut – a group that is targeting large corporations in the UK that evade paying taxes. They have been very successful in shutting down Vodaphone stores in the UK to protest the fact that Vodaphone makes billions of pounds, but pays no taxes. There is a US Uncut group that has been targeting Bank of America, Verizon and other tax evaders.

For more on this breaking story, here’s Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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I write about nutrition, health, food-related issues and spirituality at Whole Food-Whole Life.

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