The governor and legislative leaders announced a deal this week that will mean no new taxes beyond the gas tax for the coming year. While a lot of people—legislators included—welcome the agreement as a sign that the session is nearing a close, it also ends, at least for this year, the Legislature’s efforts to push for the smart investments that are needed to move Vermont forward.
For all of the governor’s claims about his consistent opposition to taxes, he’s really been all over the place. Read more
A bill being headlined as an effort to control school costs includes provisions that simply shift costs from upper-income Vermonters and second home owners onto low- and moderate-income Vermonters. The Legislature should re-think these provisions.
H.538 contains a number of provisions that would affect school spending and taxes in fiscal 2015. While some provisions of the bill may put additional pressure on school districts to cut costs, three provisions will not. Read more
The Shumlin administration’s new plan for cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to fund child care expansion doesn’t change one simple fact: the governor’s plan takes money from the lowest income working Vermonters.
The administration has cut back its child care initiative. It now requires $12 million instead of $17 million. But, as Secretary Spaulding noted in his memo to the Senate money committees last week, they still want to cut the EITC. Read more
Gov. Peter Shumlin made it clear that he didn’t like the tax package passed by the Vermont House this week. But his reasons for opposing the House bill are getting shakier and shakier.
To provide needed revenue, the House plan would raise about $23 million for fiscal 2014, and slightly more the next year mainly by reducing income tax deductions typically claimed by upper income Vermonters. In opposing the House plan this week, the governor claims that wealthy Vermonters will leave the state if their taxes go up. Read more
March 19, 2013
Good morning Madam Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Jack Hoffman. I’m senior analyst for Public Assets Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy think tank in Montpelier.
First, I’d like to applaud the Legislature and this committee for recognizing the need for Vermont to make smart investments again. Policies of austerity, which Vermont has been following for the last six years, can’t move the state forward. Read more
Vermont political leaders are showing renewed interest in measuring government performance. But as history has shown, the state’s bottom line isn’t the most important indicator.
Twenty-five years ago, human services budget discussions focused on caseloads: Were they up or down? But it wasn’t clear if a higher caseload was good or bad. Was it a negative—a sign the economy was weak and more people needed help—or a positive—an indication the state was providing more help? Read more
Tax increases don’t cause people to flee the state. Progressive taxes don’t damage the economy. Cutting state taxes doesn’t boost the economy and generate more tax revenue.
These are the conclusions of a report just released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C., that debunks the anti-tax arguments made by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has been making these arguments to support its “reform” proposals to cut taxes for the rich and shift the cost of public services onto low- and moderate-income residents. Read more
Gov. Peter Shumlin has called for a cut in the state earned income tax credit to fund his proposal to expand child care for low-income families. Vermont’s earned income credit is piggy-backed onto the federal Earned Income Tax Credit: the state credit is 32 percent of the federal. Both are aimed at helping poor Vermonters who are working in low-wage jobs. The governor wants to reduce the state credit by two-thirds, but he put a different spin on the cut in his Budget Address:
“Our proposal would mean that an average eligible recipient with no need for childcare would see a fifteen percent reduction in the combined federal/state payment . Read more
January 29, 2013
Good morning, Madam Chairman, members of the committee.
My name is Jack Hoffman. I’m senior analyst for Public Assets Institute, a Montpelier-based non-profit, non-partisan, public policy think tank that was established 10 years ago.
For those of you who don’t know about Public Assets Institute, we analyze state fiscal policy with the ordinary Vermonter in mind. We gather the facts, usually from state or federal data bases, and explain what they mean in a way that people can understand. Read more
In his Budget Address today, Gov. Peter Shumlin focused on several key areas important to job creation and Vermont’s economic future: education, child care, health care, energy, and transportation. Since government can do little to actually create jobs, we applaud the governor for speaking to these critical areas where the state can invest in making the state more conducive to job creation.
The governor made a compelling case that these investments will help the entire state. Read more