The state of Vermont faces a $112 million General Fund shortfall next year - and even more if the promised Challenge for Change savings fizzle out. The state also faces a total unfunded retirement benefits liability of $1.932 billion. The state's taxpayers endure the 5th highest state and local tax burden of the 50 states. Families in every community are out of work and insecure.
One concerned office holder, Attorney General William Sorrell, has decided that it's time for a bold new initiative: to raise $30 million in new taxes to enable state government to wage war against. the Menace of Obesity.
A year ago the AG fell in with a group of 70 "stakeholders", alarmed at what he recently was to describe as "the skyrocketing rates of obesity and overweight." There were grave discussions about the fat explosion. People are acting not only against their own well being, but also against society's interests! The Jeffords Center at UVM produced a report by a notably left wing professor, concluding that obesity is costing Vermont an astounding $615 million a year. In November the AG presided over a news conference proposing swift action to combat this menace.
Apparently the media did not spend much time dissecting the Jeffords Center report. If they had, they would have found that, of the $615 million, $295 million is due to obese people not producing anything because they died, and $188 million is due to obese people not showing up for their jobs (sick days) and engaging in something called "presenteeism". This latter concept relates to fat people not being as productive on the job as normal sized people. In addition, the Jeffords Center report calculates a cost of $1.7 million for "gasoline", presumably meaning that fat people require more fuel to get to the workplace. Removing these "costs" reduces the cost of obesity by 79%.