(Host) Local officials in Killington seem pleased that the New Hampshire Legislature has taken another step toward enabling their town to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire.
But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the Vermont Legislature has to approve the secession as well, and it’s not about to do so.
(Keck) John Campbell, majority leader for the Vermont Senate, representing Windsor County, says he’s surprised and disappointed the issue has gotten this far.
(Campbell) “I feel that the people here in Montpelier, at least in the General Assembly understand that their concerns are not a joke, and that they are very frustrated with what they consider unfair taxation. However, there are ways to deal with that issue and I don’t believe an attempt at secession is not the way to go about that.”
(Keck) Campbell says lawmakers are constantly working at ways to improve the state’s property tax system. But he says they also have other, even bigger challenges to deal with.
(Campbell) “It is frustrating for someone who is up here trying to find a solution to the health care issue and then having to address issues such as secession. And that’s why I find this is not the proper time or place to be dealing with this.”
(Keck) But Killington Town Manager, David Lewis, says he’s tired of that argument.
(Lewis) “It’s been eight years of having the Legislature saying they’re too busy or there are other issues that are more important. That’s like saying:’ how many decades are we supposed to wait?'”
(Keck) They may have to keep waiting. Windsor Senator, John Campbell, says there are no plans to follow New Hampshire’s lead and request that a senate commission be formed to look into the details of a secession.
(Campbell) “I look to New Hampshire and I’m quite puzzled. And one of the calls I’ll be making this afternoon will be to a friend who’s the Senate president over there and asking him: ‘Do they have a lot of time on their hands to deal with this issue when we all should be focusing on more important issues?'”
(Keck) For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.