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Vermont’s elected leaders are facing a projected budget gap of about $70 million for fiscal 2018. They have an opportunity to balance the budget, begin to make smart investments that address Vermonters’ needs, and modernize the tax system to better respond to Vermont’s 21st century economy.

The plan described in this report would do three things:

1. Fund the governor’s proposed investments without reducing funding for public education.

2. Solve the budget gap without additional harmful cuts.

3. Eliminate income tax loopholes for upper-income Vermonters while lowering tax rates for everyone.

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Dear Speaker Johnson and President Pro Tempore Ashe,

We’re writing with a plea for bold action. Last fall’s election demonstrated one thing loudly and clearly: people want political leaders to act, to address the problems that are all around us. Across the political spectrum, people feel ignored by government and left behind by an economy that rewards those at the top.

Vermonters want a vision for what the state can be in five or 10 or 20 years and a path to a more prosperous future. The state budget should be part of that vision, but for over a decade Montpelier has focused on immediate, yearly budget gaps...

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For all of their public hand-wringing over property taxes, legislators and even the governor seem almost cavalier in their willingness to ask property owners to pay more.

- The tax incentives proffered by Act 46 to induce school districts to merge are being funded by higher property taxes.

- The Legislature imposed property tax penalties last year in an effort to reduce property taxes.

- In January, the governor declared property taxes “one of the biggest contributors” to what he called Vermont’s “crisis of affordability.” He then made a proposal that would have shifted $50 million in additional costs onto the property tax.



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