Statement on Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission Report
Vermont’s tax structure has had serious problems for a long time that have made the impact of the recession on Vermonters worse than it needed to be. Sales tax revenue has not kept pace with economic growth for decades. And while Vermont’s effective income tax rate—the taxes that Vermonters actually pay—puts the state in the middle of the pack nationally, our rates appear high because, as the commission has noted, those rates apply after people have taken Vermont’s generous deductions and exemptions.
The political rhetoric we’ve heard in recent years about Vermont’s tax system has been misleading. This state actually has one of the fairest tax systems in the country. As more Vermonters understand this, we’ll have a better chance of taking a balanced approach to solving our current budget problems. The commission’s report, which was badly needed and long overdue, is a good first step in strengthening our revenue system so it can support the essential public services that all Vermonters deserve.
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