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Jean Szilva

Chittenden 3-6
Progressive
Winooski

I am running because after four years on the Winooski school board, I have learned that low and middle income homeowners pay a bigger percentage of their incomes on education tax than the affluent. Renters pay even more. That’s not fair to the taxpayers and not fair to the children. We should pay for public education through a progressive income tax.

I am running because once again, the legislature has failed to provide health care for all. Every door I have knocked on (save one) wants some form of universal healthcare. Other countries do this at less cost and have better outcomes. They live longer. Their babies don’t die and they are healthier at every stage of life. Universal, single payer healthcare will drive down administrative costs and provide real incentives for disease prevention.

I am running for office because I realize (as I believe most of you do) that the question isn’t when will we develop renewable, clean energy resources; the question is how. The question isn’t should we have windmills. The question is how many of what kind and where. We need to utilize every variety of clean energy available. We need to put more teeth and incentives into energy conservation.

I am opposed to renewing the contract with Vermont Yankee. The preliminary study of baby teeth showing large increases in the Strontium 90 in children near power plants should be enough to halt renewing the contract let alone increasing the capacity of this aging plant. Cancer rates are higher in the communities surrounding power plants. We haven’t come any closer to solving the disposal of nuclear waste in 50 years of operations. Nuclear power plants are also an indirect source of deleted uranium for weapons.

I am running because I understand that with universal health care and elimination of the education property tax for Vermont residents, Vermont will become a haven for small businesses. If you had a great idea and wanted to bring that idea to commercial fruition, wouldn’t you come to a state where small start up businesses didn’t have to supply healthcare out of their meager funds? Wouldn’t you come to a state where you would pay education tax, AFTER your business became successful? Wouldn’t this be a great way to increase jobs, good paying jobs, jobs that our young people want and need?

I grew up on Long Island, went to undergraduate and medical school at Northwestern University and did my post graduate training in Family practice in Ohio. I came to Vermont in 1978. Since then, I have had my own small business as a solo Family Practitioner and I have worked in the Emergency Room of Porter Medical Center. Since 1992, I have been a full time teacher and I presently teach at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. There, I teach gross anatomy as well as neural sciences. I also design online interactive curricula. I have lived in Winooski since 1995 and serve on the school board as well as the board of civil authority as a Justice of the Peace. My training and background give me a broad knowledge base. My science and math education allow me to analyze complex situations factually. Teaching has given me the communication skills through a variety of formats to keep constituents informed as well as work convincingly with colleagues in Montpelier. I feel I am the best person for the job. Feel free to Visit my web site at http://www.jean4house.org or call 655-1106 for more information. I look forward to serving you.

1. Health care.
I’d like to see single payer, publicly funded universal health care based upon the ability to pay.

2. Environment
Clean water is the next (and eminent) crisis facing the US. The problem of sewage in Lake Champlain is known to all as beaches are frequently closed. Equally or more important is the changes sewage makes in the plant life and then animal life in the Lake. Many sewer systems are antiquated and starting to fail but we aren’t looking because we do not want to see this costly problem. We need to look. Toxic waste needs to be reduced through state and federal legislation. We also need to reduce on a federal level, our reliance on coal for electricity. This will reduce the mercury in the lake.

3. Energy.
As described above, we must invest in wind, hydropower, biomass and any other renewable energy sources. We need to conserve using common sense devices that Europe has everywhere such as on demand water heating, lights out automatically, and toilets with different flushing mechanisms for different functions. Much is readily available.

4. Property taxes
Even with the prebate program, the education tax is regressive and needs to be changed to a percentage of the currently paid income tax for Vermont residents. We can still tax the property of out of state homeowners and corporations.

5. Farming & agriculture
Admittedly not as up on this issue as I’d like to be, but the safety of our food supply is a large concern to everyone. Genetically modified foods have not been thoroughly tested. These crops will cross pollinate with non-modified crops. Then we are all eating altered foods. We need to buy locally, eat locally and we need to make this choice affordable.

6. Government spending
Most Vermonters’ pay isn’t increasing but those making over $100,000 are seeing an increase with the highest earners seeing the greatest increase. Our tax system is flawed with the low and modest income Vermonters paying the largest share of their income to the state of Vermont. This needs to change. By changing the way we fund education, by eliminating the 40% capital gains tax exclusion, by adding excise taxes that affect the affluent more than the wage earner, we could pay for the programs we need.

Universal health care will make the whole state government cheaper to run. Getting rid of the education property tax eliminates the wasteful system of taxation with the huge expenditure of home assessments, collecting this separate tax and then sending prebates (though this part is scheduled to change).