The Census stopped using its state tax rankings. Why don’t we?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm | * Comments (1)

Now that the governor is in the middle of another stand-off with the Legislature over the budget, his press office has pounced on the latest story that purports to show that Vermont’s taxes are too high. The article appears this week in Vermont Business Magazine. Read more

One budget cut the governor opposes

Posted by Paul Cillo on May 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Comments Off on One budget cut the governor opposes

The Vermont Legislature gets kudos this week for voting to postpone the increase in the domestic production deduction, an obscure federal business tax break that passes through to Vermont corporations.  Vermont’s tax structure is tied to the federal system, which is boosting this tax break by 50 percent this year.  Read more

Let’s back the Challenges promise with reserve funds

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 6, 2010 at 9:58 am | * Comments (1)

If Legislative leaders and the administration believe in Challenges for Change, the government reform plan that promises better services for less money, they should be willing to guarantee that promise with the state’s reserve funds. Many legislators are leery of Challenges because they fear the administration is more interested in cutting the budget than improving services. Read more

2011 state budget plans raise property taxes

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm | * Comments (4)

Vermont property taxpayers will be taking it on the chin this year. Given the rhetoric they’ve been hearing all year from Montpelier, they have reason to be upset.

First, the governor repeated his (erroneous) claim that education spending was out of control, and proposed a plan he said would reduce property taxes. Read more

Legislature should get a second opinion

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm | * Comments (1)

The version of the fiscal 2011 budget approved by the Vermont House late last month sets aside $62 million in a reserve fund, which might be used to help close part of the budget gap projected for fiscal 2012. But legislators might want to check with federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make sure their plan complies with the law. Read more

Cutting our commitment

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm | * Comments (2)

The message couldn’t have been clearer this week from three former officials of the Vermont Agency of Human Services. They said budgets proposed by both the administration and the Legislature would result in cuts to services for many of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Read more

Savings could mean more cuts

Posted by Jack Hoffman on March 30, 2010 at 9:22 am | * Comments (1)

Vermonters who rely on services from the Agency of Human Services got a reprieve last week when the Vermont House passed its version of the fiscal 2011 budget. But they shouldn’t relax just yet. The Challenges for Change bill still holds the potential to take back what the House restored. Read more

Becoming Arizona

Posted by Jack Hoffman on March 24, 2010 at 11:47 am | * Comments (1)

All eyes have been on Washington for the last few days as the U.S. finally took a step toward creating a health care system than any civilized country ought to provide. There is still a long way to go, but at least it’s a start. Read more

Where to find $195 million

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 19, 2010 at 8:17 am | * Comments (1)

A sales tax on household services in Vermont could generate up to $195 million in revenue. That’s according to testimony given by phone by Michael Mazerov, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, at the March 16 meeting of the Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission in Montpelier. Read more

Simple and fair

Posted by Paul Cillo on March 15, 2010 at 8:41 am | * Comments (1)

Montpelier should be trying to make the education tax system simpler and fairer.  But Republican Gov. Jim Douglas is proposing changes that would make the system more complicated and less fair: He’d increase taxes on middle-income Vermonters and lower them on wealthier ones. Read more