Vermont Town May Attempt to Secede to New Hampshire

The Rutland Herald reports:

The Select Board [of Killington, Vermont] is considering asking for voter approval to cut ties with the Green Mountain State and essentially have the town become a landlocked piece of New Hampshire.

Born out of frustration with what they characterize as a tax system that treats Killington unfairly, Killington town officials insist they are sincerely looking into switching states.

"We're very serious," said Select Board Chairman Norman Holcomb. "It's not just an effort to make a statement. It's an effort to save our community."

But officials in Montpelier don't seem worried about having to redraw any maps. Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz cited some imposing obstacles to Killington's quest, beginning with the legal relation between the state and its towns.

"This is symbolic, clearly," she said. "Absent an armed insurrection type of thing, there isn't anything a town can do to secede. A town is a construction of the state and exists at the pleasure of the Legislature." (emphasis added)

Thanks to for the link, via my darling husband.

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Normally, when your friend

Normally, when your friend and neighbor sells her house and gets a high price, it's great news - not only for your friend, but also for the town, which is proven to be a place people want to live. Right?

Not in Vermont.

In Vermont, you cringe when you hear how much she got. The higher the property values in your town, the more money you pay to the state capital every year. It's not based on the value of YOUR property - it's based on the overall property values in your town. You get punished for having rich neighbors. (There is an "income sensitivity" provision which helps out some people, but not all.) You also get punished if your town spends more than other towns on education.

I suspect, however, that the Supreme Court's 1933 decision will stand, locking Killington in Vermont.

The smallest political

The smallest political units, the ones most amenable to genuine and direct democratic control by the people themselves, are just "municipal corporations," created by the sovereign authority of Vermont. The less removed the unit of government is from authentic democratic control and accountability, the more power it has; and its most important power is to keep the smaller, more democratic units under supervision by the "proper authorities." Democracy can only be tolerated to the extent that it is subject to the control of "professional" elites, and can be contained when it gets out of hand. American liberalism gets more Hamiltonian with each passing year.

Another example of why representative democracy is a farce. Maybe there's an alternative America somewhere, in which the Articles of Confederation are still in effect, the New England states are just confederations of town meetings, and Virginia adopted Jefferson's township system.

The only real democracy is one in which 1) power flows from the bottom up, instead of the reverse; 2) decision-making is direct and participatory; and (most important) 3) one can withraw or secede at will.

A central territorial state, organized on the representative principle rather than direct democracy and federation, will in reality be ruled by the people who control the machinery of government. All the formally democratic constitutional procedures in the world cannot enable the public at large to actually control a large territorial state.