Vermont Counter-Protesters Call For Tax Increases

Paying taxes is patriotic and as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. Glad people are standing up and saying it:

Calling itself S.O.S., or Save Our State, the group held a small pro-tax protest in Montpelier, the national income tax-filing deadline, to drive home that taxes pay for needed programs and state employees perform necessary duties.

About two dozen people crowded around the state Tax Department's help window while organizers turned in single-signature petitions, designed to look like a tax form, that organizers called SOS-EZ forms.

They list 17 state programs that could be kept whole with what organizers say would be a modest tax increase.

"It's not just a day to worry about taxes; we value our institutions and the programs the state offers," said S.O.S. organizer Chris Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid. "We can't pave our own roads. We can't keep our own courthouse doors open. It's frustrating that some days of the week the courts are closed."

The anti-tax orthodoxy of the right has just about ruined California since the GOP has a minority veto over any tax increases and the passage of budgets. People are starting to come around on the issue but obviously on days like today a very vocal minority makes it seem like quite the opposite is true.

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When the Midwest Goes Gay...

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing


click to enlarge

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Winning Same Sex Marriage Equality In A Single Phone Call

http://thepoweronline.wordpress.com/2009 04/06/the-power-to-win-equality-is-in-a -single-phone-call
Today full marriage equality for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender citizens lies in persuding a few state legislators who initially voted against marriage equality to support the vote to override Governor Jim Douglas's expected veto. You have THE POWER  to get that single vote we need. Your voice and your story are more POWERful that the fact sheets and legal arguments by any of our LGBT lobbying organizations.

Back in the spring of 1990 I was still living in RI and planning my move to NYC. Massachusetts had recently passed a gay rights law and RI was giving it another try. Previously the our bill passed the House and died in the State Senate. This year we introduced the bill into the Senate first. The vote looked very tight with the probability of narrow defeat. My Senator was Charlie Donovan Sr. I went to the same school as his son, Charlie Jr. who was a few years younger. My dad was one of Jr.'s teachers. I got Sen. Donovan's home number from my parents and nervously called. The answering machine picked up and the taped messaged rolled as I blanked on what to say. The vote was tomorrow so I had to say something to the machine. When the voice gave way to a shrill beep I blurted out "Mr. Donovan, this is Jon Winkleman, Murray's son, and I'm gay." I didn't have a fact sheet to reason with logic or the morality of equal rights. I told him I went to school with Charlie Jr. and I can get fired from my job just cause I'm gay. Also my landlord can evict me from my apartment just because I'm gay. Tomorrow you are really voting on my life. I begged him to support the bill and hung up as the second beep interrupted me.

My friends in the RI Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights said Rep. Charlie Donovan Sr. was on record as a solid "NO" to LGBT equality but thanked me for making the call. The next day the gay rights bill passed the State Senate. My friend Padric called elated "I don't know what you said Winkleman but Donovan flipped and voted `YES'." The bill passed the Senate by ONE VOTE. The victory was ephemeral as national religious right groups then flooded RI with money and lobbyists. The Religious Right didn't get any House members to change their vote. Still they did managed to pressure enough weak supporters to miss the roll call and in 1990 RI's gay rights bill died in a tied vote in the House.

There's more...

Winning Same Sex Marriage Equality In A Single Phone Call

http://thepoweronline.wordpress.com/2009 04/06/the-power-to-win-equality-is-in-a -single-phone-call
Today full marriage equality for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender citizens lies in persuding a few state legislators who initially voted against marriage equality to support the vote to override Governor Jim Douglas's expected veto. You have THE POWER  to get that single vote we need. Your voice and your story are more POWERful that the fact sheets and legal arguments by any of our LGBT lobbying organizations.

Back in the spring of 1990 I was still living in RI and planning my move to NYC. Massachusetts had recently passed a gay rights law and RI was giving it another try. Previously the our bill passed the House and died in the State Senate. This year we introduced the bill into the Senate first. The vote looked very tight with the probability of narrow defeat. My Senator was Charlie Donovan Sr. I went to the same school as his son, Charlie Jr. who was a few years younger. My dad was one of Jr.'s teachers. I got Sen. Donovan's home number from my parents and nervously called. The answering machine picked up and the taped messaged rolled as I blanked on what to say. The vote was tomorrow so I had to say something to the machine. When the voice gave way to a shrill beep I blurted out "Mr. Donovan, this is Jon Winkleman, Murray's son, and I'm gay." I didn't have a fact sheet to reason with logic or the morality of equal rights. I told him I went to school with Charlie Jr. and I can get fired from my job just cause I'm gay. Also my landlord can evict me from my apartment just because I'm gay. Tomorrow you are really voting on my life. I begged him to support the bill and hung up as the second beep interrupted me.

My friends in the RI Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights said Rep. Charlie Donovan Sr. was on record as a solid "NO" to LGBT equality but thanked me for making the call. The next day the gay rights bill passed the State Senate. My friend Padric called elated "I don't know what you said Winkleman but Donovan flipped and voted `YES'." The bill passed the Senate by ONE VOTE. The victory was ephemeral as national religious right groups then flooded RI with money and lobbyists. The Religious Right didn't get any House members to change their vote. Still they did managed to pressure enough weak supporters to miss the roll call and in 1990 RI's gay rights bill died in a tied vote in the House.

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Jim Douglas Channels George Wallace

Crossposted on Daily Kos on Fri Apr 03, 2009 at 10:17:43 AM EDT

After the Vermont Senate voted overwhelmingly (26-4) for a bill that would allow same-sex couples in Vermont to obtain the same state marriage license that is afforded to opposite-sex couples  - and in advance of last night's tremendous support (95-52) for this bill in the Vermont House - the Governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas, announced he would veto the bill.

Douglas says he believes that only members of his own group should be allowed to enter this public institution.

"I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

--Gov. George Wallace



Vermont was the first state, and indeed the first sovereign nation, to outlaw slavery.  Vermont would be the first state to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses without being required to by a court ruling. Apparently uninspired by this egalitarian tradition, Jim Douglas is taking his cues from another place and time in American history.

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