*This is a press release from Sen. Anthony Pollina, Interim Chair of the Vermont Progressive Party.
June 19, 2017
Contact: 802-272-3765 / 229-5809
Washington County Senator Anthony Pollina is calling on the Scott Administration to tie efforts to cut government spending to reforms of Vermont’s tax system.
Governor Scott recently asked agency heads to propose budgets that include spending cuts of 2% to 4%. But Pollina, interim Chair of the Vermont Progressive Party, says focusing only on budget cuts is a mistake and instead policymakers should support tax reforms benefiting middle and lower income families.
Pollina pointed to one proposal that would generate $80 million in new revenue without raising taxes on middle income families, as better than cutting needed services.
“We know that lower and middle income people pay a larger share of their income to fund schools and state government than wealthier folks do. And these are the same people who will bear the brunt of any cuts in education or government services. That is simply not fair.
“And it’s no wonder so many Vermonters are feeling hard pressed. Higher income Vermonters have seen their incomes double while those earning $100,000 or less saw minimal gains or actual drops in income.
“So, the same people who struggle hardest to pay for childcare and college, to pay the rent or afford a home make the biggest sacrifice when it comes to paying taxes. It’s not fair. And, it’s the part of the so called affordability problem the Governor and others choose to ignore.”
Progressive legislators have offered proposals to make the tax system fairer while generating new revenue and allowing tax cuts for moderate income Vermonters. One such proposal was introduced by Pollina and Senator Chris Pearson.
That plan would move Vermont more towards income to fund schools. It would extend the income sensitivity policy that most Vermonters already use to pay school taxes, by having higher income Vermonters pay based on the greater of their income or property values. According to the Joint Fiscal Office, it would generate an additional $80 million to invest in schools or be used to reduce property tax rates for middle and lower income families.
“These proposals deserve serious consideration but are ignored. Instead we keep chipping away at the budget, cutting services and making life harder for already hard pressed Vermonters, ” said Pollina.