Income inequality is already growing in Vermont. And if Congress has its way on tax reform, that problem will get worse.

Analysis released yesterday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that, like the House plan from earlier this month, the newly released U.S. Senate’s tax plan helps Vermonters at the top the most.

Nationally, the plan is heavily tilted in favor of upper-income households and profitable corporations.  The top 1 percent gets around one-fourth of the total tax cuts and the top 5 percent receive half of the tax cuts. In Vermont, 60 percent of the benefits go to the top 20 percent of taxpayers.

Under the Senate plan, the top 1 percent of Vermont taxpayers would on average get a tax cut of $21,910, growing to $29,820 by 2027. Meanwhile, the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers would save an average of $100 in 2019 and $200 in 2027.

The Congressional tax plans aren’t the only policies in Washington that could make life harder for working families and the middle class. Possible changes to the federal overtime rules may also take money away from thousands of Vermonters.  A new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that 19,000 Vermont workers could lose a combined $3 million in overtime pay if the Trump administration rolls back a 2016 rule change updating who’s eligible. Federal rules establish who qualifies for overtime pay, which is 1.5 times a worker’s normal rate of pay for any hours over 40 in a week. Read more
This is the 11th year in a row that Montpelier has projected spending obligations will exceed state revenue projections going into the start of the legislative session. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the state’s revenue system isn’t keeping up with even modest budget growth. Projected General Fund revenue for next year is $1,591 million. That’s about $34 million more than Vermont had available to pay for base appropriations for this year ($1,557 million). If this revenue growth were distributed evenly, there would be enough for an increase of just over 2 percent across state government. Read more

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