State of Vermont Archives: on Tax Reform


Scott Milne: Cap the state-wide property tax in first two weeks

I will work with the Legislature to overhaul our education funding system. Ideally, we would decrease the system's reliance on property taxes. Such a fundamental change must be brought about by a close partnership between the Governor & the Legislature. By getting our complex apparatus clarified and running efficiently, and re-allocating resources, together we can be the education state.

As governor, I would make this issue a top priority. When the Legislature reconvenes in January, I want to pass the cap in the first two weeks of the session. By capping the state-wide property tax, legislators would be pressured to work across party lines to Find a solution to rising property taxes. Several municipal select boards have already expressed support of this proposal. Vermonters can help make this a reality and assist in this process by pushing their select boards and legislators to support the "Cap Our Rate" resolution.

Source: 2016 Vermont Senate campaign website ScottMilne.org Aug 8, 2016

Bruce Lisman: Stop taxing retirement benefits & other new taxes & fees

Lisman issued the following statement regarding the high taxes that Vermont veterans and seniors face:

We must end Vermont's over taxation of veterans & senior citizens. Although Vermont has one of the country's highest percentages of senior citizens, it is one of only nine states that taxes military retirement pay and one of 13 states that taxes Social Security benefits.

As Governor, I will end the taxation of military retirement pay and work to substantially roll back the taxes on Social Security benefits. Moreover, I will put a stop to the insatiable spending habits of Governor Shumlin, and those who have stood by silently, have extracted more than $640 million in new taxes, fees, and surcharges from Vermonters over the past five years.

Vermont's high tax burden is driving many seniors to leave our state. We must break the cycle of spending at a faster pace than our economy grows. More important, we must treat our veterans and seniors fairly and with the respect they deserve.

Source: 2016 gubernatorial campaign website LismanForVermont.com Apr 18, 2016

Bruce Lisman: Reset our finances and no new taxes

Republican Bruce Lisman presented what he calls a multiyear approach to recast state government. "I'd manage the damn budget. Set spending at 2-3 percent per year to reset our finances and no new taxes. And find 2 percent efficiencies with a brilliant, motivated management team. Recharge our government by bringing real managers into it, those people we find not because we know them but because they're talented," Lisman said.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott called for a collaborative approach to improving affordability for families. "I will neither propose nor will I sign a budget that exceeds these very reasonable limits. Working families need a break," said Scott, R-Vermont. "What we're really doing is creating an environment that is helpful to them and a state government that is by their side and not on their back."

Both Republicans have said the state's health exchange has hurt the business climate in the state.

Source: WCAX coverage of 2016 Vermont gubernatorial debates Dec 16, 2015

Phil Scott: Property taxes shouldn't grow faster than property values

In 2014, 50% of Vermont's school students saw their school budgets voted down as many communities fought back against the property tax rates. Many communities reduced their budgets but still had substantially higher property tax rates imposed on them.

What did the Legislature do to address this unsustainable problem? Nothing. The property tax system is broken and Scott believes it's time for the Legislature to stop sidestepping this challenge and work with school boards to find a reasonable solution.

As a matter of principle, Scott does not believe property taxes should grow faster, on average, than increases in income or increases in the underlying fair market value of the property being taxed. He also believes that the state should audit all of its unfunded mandates and repeal them.

Scott will continue be a voice for those Vermonters struggling to pay their property tax bills and make developing a real, sustainable reform of our property tax system a top priority.

Source: 2016 Vermont Gubernatorial campaign website PhilScott.org Sep 9, 2015

Peter Shumlin: Avoid raising taxes; balance budget by cuts & efficiencies

Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and key legislative leaders today announced an agreement to avoid raising taxes on Vermonters, and instead focus on spending cuts and efficiencies to achieve a balanced budget for the state.

"We have an agreement among leadership that will allow for a timely adjournment of this session--an agreement that is right for Vermonters now," the Governor said. "Balancing our budget this session with no additional taxes will help keep our state on a strong path of economic recovery."

Said Speaker Smith, "I am confident that we can achieve our goals within the current revenues." Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will focus on reducing state spending by about $10 million through cuts and efficiencies, eliminating the need for any additional tax increases.

Source: 2016-related Vermont Gubernatorial press release May 7, 2013

Shap Smith: Avoid raising taxes; balance budget by cuts & efficiencies

Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and key legislative leaders today announced an agreement to avoid raising taxes on Vermonters, and instead focus on spending cuts and efficiencies to achieve a balanced budget for the state.

"When we entered this session, we were in a different place," said Speaker Smith. "We were facing significant uncertainty regarding the federal sequester. We received a revenue downgrade just as we entered the session. Now, fortunately, the picture is brighter. Our economy is stronger; we have better certainty regarding the effects of the federal cuts; we have a lower unemployment rate and a hopeful future. I am confident that we can achieve our goals of increasing public safety, improving state infrastructure, and investing in the well-being of Vermonters within the current revenues."

Legislators will focus on reducing state spending by about $10 million through cuts and efficiencies, eliminating the need for any additional tax increases.

Source: 2016-related Vermont Gubernatorial press release May 7, 2013

Peter Shumlin: Raise state budget reserve from 5% to 8%, for tough times

It should be abundantly clear that the current reserve of 5% of our state budget is not adequate to withstand tough times. I call upon the legislature to join me in raising our reserves to 8% as soon as we return to better times. Critics might also ask: why are we not raising taxes? Our top income tax rate is not 5%; it is nearly 9%. Our tax rates must remain competitive with other New England states to grow jobs.
Source: 2011 Vermont State of the State Address Jan 25, 2011

Greg Parke: Completely eliminate federal estate tax

Parke supports a complete elimination of the federal estate tax. Currently the first two million dollars of an estate is exempt from the tax. This exemption rises to $3.5 million in 2009. It reverts to one million in 2011. Parke says, “I just think there is something fundamentally wrong that just because you die the government has a right to take half of what you have built up for your family. That just irks me.”
Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 12, 2006

Richard Tarrant: Raise the estate tax exemption but don’t eliminate it

Tarrant says he’d support efforts to raise the exemption but he opposes a total elimination of the estate tax. Tarrant says, “Five, ten million dollars or maybe it varies depending upon the worth of the business because that gets complex. But thereafter I don’t have a problem with the estate tax and personally for what it’s worth I don’t believe you should leave kids tons of money. I don’t think it helps them at all.”
Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 12, 2006

Bernie Sanders: Capital gains & dividend tax cuts are giveaways to the rich

Sanders says a new plan in Congress is a giveaway to wealthy people. A key part of the legislation being debated in Washington this week extends a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. Sanders opposed the measure because he says 43 % of the tax benefits will go to individuals who earn at least a million dollars a year. Sanders says, “I think that that’s absurd. I mean this is again another example of President Bush and the Republican leadership leaning over backwards to help people who really don’t need any help. These are the wealthiest people in this country who are doing extraordinarily well and the help for the middle class is minimum.“

Sanders says he also opposed the bill because he feels it will increase the national debt. Sanders says, ”According to the non partisan CBO, the major reason that President Bush has presided over the largest deficits in our nation’s history is due to his tax policy and this will only make a very bad situation worse.

Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 11, 2006

Richard Tarrant: Extend capital gains and dividend tax cuts

Tarrant says a new Congressional tax cut plan will bring additional revenue into the federal Treasury. Tarrant supports extending a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. Tarrant says the rate cuts have encouraged individuals to buy and sell stock and the result has been an increase in federal revenue: Tarrant says, “The capital gains tax rate reduction and the dividend tax rate reduction were hugely successful. It’s clear that the capital gains and the dividend tax rate cuts worked. It generated a lot more tax revenue, a ton more tax revenue.“

Tarrant says Sanders’ belief that the plan will add to the national debt is dead wrong: Tarrant says, ”Count up the money, you know. Count it up one dollar at a time. It is in the treasury now. There’s no room for debate. It worked. The dollars are there. But Mr. Sanders is a broken record on this and he will never admit to having been wrong.“

Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 11, 2006

Matt Dunne: Increase taxes on high earners; decrease property taxes

Source: Vermont Congressional 2002 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

  • The above quotations are from State of Vermont Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Tax Reform:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Feb 13, 2018