Voting other folks' money

This could start-as a trial run-with that still-barely surviving old-Vermont tradition, the annual school budget vote.

I say "barely" because a statewide grass-roots movement a few years back toward the Australian ballot (useable by the voter/taxpayer types who actually hold a private-sector day job and can't tolerate the deliberately late-into-the-night Vermont rituals which the traditional voice vote-by-attenders-only meeting has become). This was bitterly resisted by the same folks who normally advocate for everyone voting- early and often-on the grounds that "no residency proof is needed, you have to be there for the entire meeting to appreciate the wisdom of our spending proposals, and then you get to vote."

Much to our surprise, the campaign for activists-and-educators-only-voting has been largely rejected in most of the Vermont towns which have adopted the Australian ballot.

Ok, for starters I'd propose that those who pay full freight under Act 60 and Son-of-60 (Act 68) have their school budget votes weighted more heavily than those-the majority of residential property owners , as 60 and 68 were skillfully designed to buy educational-spending support-who are exempted from paying full freight by the income-sensitivity provisions of the legislation. This model is visible in corporate governance where we who own only, say, 100 shares of Entergy Corp. are out-voted, as we should be, by those who have more skin-in-the-game (and have invested more of their own money to own more of their own shares).

I'd go with Constitutional precedent and suggest the 3/5 fraction: those pulling the wagon should have 3/5 more say-so about its destination than those riding in it.

Ex-U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm's comments are still being cited by today's Gentry-Left (check out the current webpage of American Prospect magazine which features a year-old op-ed characterizing them as "racial demagoguery"). The Left enjoy the power stemming from the solid voting support from riders, even as it loses them the soon-to-be-permanent-minority puller vote.

It would be fun to see what 21st-century language would be deployed against the 18th-century Constitutional exercise in fractions-even if that exercise was originally employed not for vote-weighting but for population-counting.

Former Vermonter Martin Harris lives in Tennessee.

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