Rep. Mike Yantachka

The Doyle Poll, created and still conducted by former Senator Bill Doyle, has been a Town Meeting tradition in Vermont for decades. This year 113 Charlotte voters shared their opinions, about the same as last year’s number. Of the 15 questions, three dealt with affordability. A strong majority feel that Vermont is currently not an affordable place to live. Similar majorities believe that the minimum wage needs to increase and that employees should have paid family leave. These policies would mitigate the affordability problem for many low-income Vermonters and dual-income families. 

Clearly most people think we need to do a lot more to address the opiate crisis, water quality, and finding alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders. A question not answered is whether this translates to a willingness to increase spending tax dollars on these problems. 

There’s a strong consensus that we rely too heavily on property taxes for education, but respondents are also quite satisfied with the quality of education our district provides. The bill H.911, recently passed by the House, takes steps to relieve some of the burden on property tax by relying more on income and consumption taxes.

Governor Scott’s approval rate exceeds his negative rating by 34 percent, which bodes well for his re-election at this time. About 34 percent also had no opinion on the question.  About two-thirds of respondents favor a four-year term for the office of governor.  This would require a change to the Vermont Constitution, however.  

There is also strong support among respondents for increasing the scope of the bottle deposit system. There are many ways to expand it, including adding noncarbonated beverages such as bottled juice, water and tea, as well as adding a deposit on wine bottles. I would favor this if the law were also changed to have the state collect and manage the system. This way the deposits for unredeemed containers would accrue to the state rather than the beverage distributors.

As your representative in Montpelier, I appreciate your input on these and other issues. Your comments help me look at issues from several perspectives, and that is a valuable opportunity for me. You can always contact me by phone at (802) 425-3960 or email me.