Vermont Libertarian Platform of 2014
Vermont Libertarians believe in individual liberty, strong and responsible local communities, limited government under the watchful eye of local citizens, accountability of public officials to the electorate, restraint in taxing and spending, the protection of the human right of private property ownership, economic vitality and growth through competitive free enterprise, the importance of a strong educational system, protection of our environment, the preservation of agriculture, compassionate and dignified assistance for those unable to provide for their own needs, equal protection of the laws, mutual aid, and voluntary service to the community; and that, in the words of the Vermont Constitution, “a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep government free.”
We take our stand on the following platform, upon which we appeal for the support of the free men and women of the state in the legislative and gubernatorial election:
1. ECONOMY: We believe in competitive free enterprise as the source of wealth for our people, jobs for our labor force, and the tax base necessary to support the legitimate demands of government. Confusing regulations and prolonged and often arbitrary enforcement has weakened the economic competitiveness of Vermont businesses. Identify regulations that are outdated and unnecessary, and secure their repeal. Identify regulations that ought to be rewritten, and rewrite them so they are strict in protecting consumers, business, our communities, and our environment, but certain in their requirements, reasonable in their demands, and swift and fair in their application. Adopt a regulator accountability act, by which one fifth of House or Senate can require that the legislature vote up or down on agency regulations on the record. Reform worker’s compensation to be more competitive for employers and employees to form a mutual, fair contract between the employer and employee. Remove local and state barriers slowing deployment of rural high-speed Internet.
2. TAXATION: Taxation is driven by spending. Work to reduce the state income tax rate and property tax rate as state spending is controlled. Oppose local income taxes or the inclusion of services in the sales tax. Replace general taxes with user fees where possible so users of services are paying for those services. For taxpayers without children in the government run schools, adopt a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to limit the growth of government to the rate of inflation, and to require a voter referendum to raise any tax.
3. STATE GOVERNMENT: Reduce the size and role of government and improve the sensitivities of those remaining so that service to the public comes first. We should pay our public servants a competitive wage, but expect solid performance. Begin the process of localizing appropriate state government services. With clear standards for performance and with opportunity for state employees to compete for contracts. We will give the Governor a line item veto regarding expenditures.
4. PROPERTY RIGHTS: Protect the human right of private property ownership against government regulation, confiscation and eminent domain. Enact an inverse condemnation law allowing landowners to require government to take their property and pay them its fair market value when that government has significantly diminished its value through regulation. We support the property rights of farmers to grow any crop they wish. Eliminate the subjective criteria of Act 250. Change the requirement of conformance with local and regional plans to conformance with adopted zoning bylaws. Create a statutory presumption that a local government permit is binding on district commissions.
5. EDUCATION: Education is the primary concern of students, families, and the local community. Eliminate costly and unproductive state mandates that have driven up the cost of local schools. Oppose federal mandates such as “No Child Left Behind.” Enact legislation giving the voters and local school boards a greater chance to control public school expenditures through budget votes. Protect independent schools, religious schools, home schooling, and the right of parents in tuition towns to send their children to the approved schools of their choice, including the choice of non-public schools. Enact legislation to give parents greater financial responsibility for their children’s education. Loosen regulations to allow new, smaller, and more cost-effective schools to be created. Make teacher certification optional.
6. LEGISLATURE: Adopt a constitutional amendment to adjourn annual legislative sessions on or before April 30. Oppose any efforts to provide taxpayer-financed health benefits, retirement benefits, or expense accounts to legislators. Require an open roll call vote for election of the Speaker of the House and all floor votes on spending, taxing, and regulating. Enact a citizen initiative law, proportional representation, and instant runoff voting to give all voters more voice. We support a permanent statute review committee to recommend changes to the legislature to bring statutes in conformance with plain language.
7. CRIME: Repeal all consensual crime laws to focus police resources on crimes to property and persons. To ease the strain on our judicial systems, we support greater use of alternative dispute solutions. We propose amnesty for all convicted non-violent drug offenders.
8. HEALTH CARE: We believe health care should be affordable and available to all Vermonters. We believe in a free market for health care. We believe health care decisions are between patient and doctor, not patient, doctor and legislature. We believe the path to reduce cost in health care can be achieved through expanding alternate health care options, increasing transparency, and elmininating mandates which increase cost without improving care. Enact a comprehensive health care reform including reductions of costly state-imposed insurance mandates, reduction of underpayment to providers for Medicaid patients, tax fairness for the self employed and those not covered by employer plans, elimination of mandated cost-shifting from young to old, allowance of presently forbidden healthy lifestyle insurance discounts, and conversion of Medicaid to Health Savings Account based insurance plan. Oppose government-run single payer health care, price controls, global budgeting, mandates on employers to pay for coverage, and forced membership in purchasing alliances. Support allowing Vermonters to buy Rx drugs from other countries, and health insurance from other states. Expand the medical marijuana law. We support passage of the Death with Dignity Act to give terminally ill patients control over their end of life decisions.
9. ENERGY: Support the erecting of windmills and other alternative energy sources on private land. As advoates of free market, we support consumer choice in purchase of power. Make the funding of Efficiency Vermont an opt-in charge on the electric bill instead of a mandatory charge.
10. WELFARE: Make greater use of community groups in assisting welfare-eligible people to become self-sufficient. Conduct a thorough investigation of the practices and policies of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
11. LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Refuse to enact any additional unfunded state mandates on the towns, and will begin a process to reduce existing mandates.
12. TRANSPORTATION: Vermont’s highways and bridges are in serious need of maintenance and improvement. Refuse to divert the Transportation Funds to support unrelated General Fund expenditures.
13. ENVIRONMENT: Vermont’s environment is one of our greatest resources. Instruct the courts to apply trespass law to those who directly harm others with pollution, providing remedies to harmed individuals who are currently without recourse personally. Seek a federal exemption so individuals can plant hemp as a barrier crop to reduce the amount of pollution reaching streams and rivers, to support agricultural diversity, and greater economic opportunities. We support the use of safe, clean, non-soil based and alternative waste disposal systems for property owners.
14. LIBERTY: Protect and defend the rights confirmed for all Vermonters in the Vermont Bill of Rights. We affirm the right of Vermont to secede. We will resolutely oppose any infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms. Pass up every opportunity to tell peaceable, independent Vermonters how to live their lives.