Conservative super PAC back in action with mailings that hit Dems over new taxes

The conservative super PAC “Vermonters First” is venturing back into legislative politics, this time with a statewide mailing that hammers Democratic lawmakers for proposed increases on a slew of taxes.

Earlier this year, Vermonters First, which spent about $1 million on behalf of Republican candidates during the last election cycle, aired a series of 15-second television ads calling Dems on the carpet for a proposed increase in the gas tax.

The group, funded almost exclusively (as of the latest campaign-finance disclosure deadlines) by Burlington heiress Lenore Broughton, is out now with glossy tri-folds, which began arriving Tuesday in the mailboxes of voters in districts with Democrats in the House.

“(Your representative here) just voted to go on a massive taxing spree!” the mailing says.

A photograph of a shopping cart filled with a pair of jeans, gas can, miniature house, cup of soda and a burger symbolizes the suite of provisions in three revenue bills passed by the Vermont House so far this yaer.

The House’s $23 million revenue bill would eliminate the sales tax exemption on soft drinks, candy, bottled water and items of clothing that cost more than $110. The legislation also raises the meals tax for a year, and would raise income taxes on rich people. An education-funding bill passed in February, meanwhile, would send property tax rates up by 5 cents.

“The high cost of living in Vermont is going to get worse if Democratic (your rep’s name here) gets her way,” the mailer says.

The coup de grace: a perforated tear-off, onto which Vermonters First has already printed the home address of the Democratic rep, that encourages voters to “write your own personal message” to the officeholder.

Broughton cried foul last year when a group of single-payer advocates picketed outside her Burlington home in protest of her media blitzes.

Vermonters First’s lone staff, Tayt Brooks, didn’t respond to requests for comment, as usual. But the mailings indicate that Broughton is as committed as ever to ending one-party rule, and is willing to spend a lot of money to get it done.

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