The Readers Write

Vote for Senator Michael Sirotkin
When Senator Michael Sirotkin was appointed to fill his late wife Sally Fox’s Senate seat we all knew he had very big shoes to fill, and he has done so truly admirably. While he brings energy and enthusiasm and a new perspective to the Senate, he also brings 30 years of Statehouse advocacy on behalf of consumers, working families, and senior citizens. He ran a successful small governmental affairs business during that time, meeting payroll and improving the lives of many Vermonters with his policy work. I have had the opportunity to personally observe Michael’s advocacy, both before and after he became a senator. Chittenden County lost a champion in Sally, but we are very fortunate Michael agreed to serve. He is not only continuing her fine work but has also made a name for himself as a respected, hardworking, balanced  and compassionate Senator.
Please join me in voting for Michael Sirotkin as one of our six senators from Chittenden County.
Joan Lenes, Shelburne

How much do you know about Shelburne businesses?
In the interest of Economic Development and in support of business development in Shelburne, as a Planning Commissioner I have been working with an ad hoc group to build an inventory of business activities in Shelburne. We started with a list of Active Corporations registered with the Secretary of State and added and subtracted to the best of our ability. Tod Whitaker, Colleen Haag, Rosalyn Graham, Meagan Downey, Jane McKnight, and Dean Pierce were among those who helped refine the list.
The ultimate goal is to find out how the town can be of help to businesses, which means we have to ask them. But first we have to find out who they are. Hence the list.
Just for fun, there is a BizQuiz contest in this issue of the Shelburne News. You guess the number of businesses we identified as presumed to be operating in Shelburne. The answer may surprise you. The person with the guess closest to the total on the list will win an exciting prize donated by the Shelburne Supermarket.
After the contest ends, the list will be available on the Town of Shelburne website for everyone to review and make corrections and additions. Currently the list is not 100 percent accurate and likely never will be due to the constantly changing marketplace.
Stay tuned.
Ann L. Hogan, Shelburne Planning Commission Member

Support for Michael Sorotkin
Shelburne voters, along with the rest of Chittenden County, have the opportunity to vote for six senators. Among the candidates is Michael Sirotkin who was appointed to fill the senate seat vacated by his late wife, Sally Fox. Michael has worked at the State House for 30 years as chief advocate for hundreds of affirmative legislative changes, many of which led the nation. One of those issues is patient choice at end of life, Act 39. We were fortunate to be able to work with him on that issue and we’ve come to respect his measured, thoughtful approach to crafting good legislation. He has an enviable depth of understanding about how the legislative system works. He has a long history of working on issues that affect Vermont elders. I hope you will join me in voting for Michael next Tuesday.
Ginny Walters, Shelburne

Concerns over rising property tax
In deciding who to vote for on Election Day, I identify the major issue and look at the position taken by each candidate. The major issue for me is the way Vermont funds education with property taxes. Reform is badly needed because property taxes for Shelburne School District (PreK-8) went up 8.9 percent this year, in spite of a budget where per pupil spending increased less than 1 percent. This is a problem that needs to be resolved.
Running for reelection as governor, Peter Shumlin tries to blame education spending. But he is wrong. Those same property owners whose taxes are going up 8.9 percent would, if they qualified to pay based on income, see a more moderate increase of 3.5 percent. This is because the burden of funding education is unfairly borne by property taxpayers.
This year 68 percent of the education fund comes from property taxes. Ten years ago, property taxes funded 61 percent of education. Unless it is reformed, in five years that could rise to 75 percent. Many property owners are weighing a move to less expensive dwellings, to rental housing, or out of state because of unaffordable property taxes in Vermont.
So, on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the candidates who acknowledge our dysfunctional system of using property taxes to fund education as the critical issue, and propose responsible, constructive measures to correct it, will get my votes.
Robert Finn, Shelburne