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Advice to Killington from a New Hampshire Resident

07/29/04 12:00AM By Ken Sheldon
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(Host) The town of Killington has voted to secede from Vermont and become part of New Hampshire. Commentator Ken Sheldon lives in New Hampshire and says there are a few things the folks in Killington need to know first.

(Sheldon) We're not going to quiz you on the state bird, the state motto, or the state bagel - cinnamon raisin, if anyone asks. Nor do we want to talk about the history of New Hampshire and Vermont, because it will probably just make us all cranky. But there are some things you should know before you make a commitment like this. Call it pre-union counseling.

We understand that one of the reasons you're upset with Vermont is that your property taxes are too high. We have property taxes too, and we have a simple formula for calculating them. First, take the value of your house and divide this by the number of children you have, and subtract $2.37 if you take your own trash to the dump. Now discard this number, then take the last four digits of your social security number and put a dollar sign in front of it.

Send that amount to the town office, which is generally open on Mondays and Wednesday from 10 to 11, and Thursday evenings except when the book club is meeting. If there's no one at the town office, just slip it under the door.

As you know, we don't have sales or income taxes in New Hampshire. However, we do have a room and meals tax, interest and dividend tax, water and sewer taxes, tobacco tax, gravel tax, timber tax, and a tax on asking what that tax is for.

Just as in Vermont, we run things by town meeting in New Hampshire. For the most part, however, we don't spend a lot of time arguing about things that don't concern us. So if you want to impeach the president, free Tibet, or make the state a trans-fatty-acid- free zone, you might as well stay where you are.

Also, if you're leaving Vermont because your governor is too liberal, too conservative, a spendthrift or a miser, think again. We've had our share of all these. The grass is always greener in the other fellow's Statehouse.

You should also be aware that a group of Libertarians has chosen New Hampshire as the target of its Free State project. Apparently, they chose New Hampshire because it's a place where no one tells you what do to. Their plan is to move here en masse, take over, and tell us what to do. Don't ask us to explain it, we don't understand it either.

If you do join us, please don't expect to have your own state representative. We already have the largest Legislature in the country and as a result, passing legislation generally takes from one to two geologic eras. Of course given some of our legislators, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Finally, if you're serious about leaving Vermont and becoming part of New Hampshire, we do have a few requirements. First, you'll have to remove those "Save the Whales," "Ban Nukes" and "Free Leonard" bumper stickers from your Subaru and replace them with stickers that say "Santa's Village," "Clark's Trading Post" or "This Car Climbed Mount Washington." Tourism is important to the Granite State. In fact, it's practically a religion. We'll do anything to... (sound of motorcycle revving) we'll do anything to promote tourism (more motorcycles) even if it means inviting 10,000 motorcycles to the state every summer. Not that we mind.

And one last thing. If you're going to become part of New Hampshire, please don't make any cracks about the Old Man of the Mountain. We're still a little sensitive about that.

I'm Ken Sheldon of Hancock, New Hampshire.

Ken Sheldon is an author, singer and songwriter. His first novel is titled "The Code."
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