1-14-16 – Education Committees Are Preparing to Raise Property Taxes

by Rob Roper

Act 46, the education consolidation and finance reform law passed just last year, was supposed to be a response to Vermonters’ collective outrage over incessantly rising property taxes. The principle mechanism in the new law to restrain school spending (which is what makes property taxes go up) was a spending cap. Districts that exceeded that cap would face a severe tax penalty for doing so.

Many legislators voted for Act 46 only because the spending caps were in the bill. (And, in many cases because they were also promised school choice would be protected by other language in the bill. But, that’s a whole other lie.) Unfortunately, the House Education Committee just voted 11-0 to raise the spending cap across the board by 0.9%. The Senate Education Committee voted 4-1 to eliminate the cap entirely.

Let’s be clear what this is: This is a property tax increase.

House Republicans had a plan to offset a 0.9% increase in the school spending caps, paying for them by decreasing the maximum allowable property tax income sensitivity payment from $8000 to $6000, but the R’s on the House Education committee threw the rest of the caucus under the bus.

Hours after they pledged to their caucus that they would not vote a bill out of committee that did not contain the income sensitivity adjustment (ie. that they would not vote out a bill that would lead to a property tax increase) they voted to do the exact opposite, joining the Democrats on their committee to pass a bill with the spending cap increase, but with no measure to offset it.

What the heck? Here is VIDEO of Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) telling the Republican caucus what he and his fellow Education Committee members were going to do. Is there any misunderstanding the expressed intent here?

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.32.07 AM

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Montgomery January 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Congratulations for making Vermont unaffordable. How can you justify raising taxes AGAIN when school enrollment continues to decline? I am one of many who has made their exit from Vermont because of the expense. I now live in Arizona where I make more per hour for the same job, pay less in taxes, pay very little for heat during those cool, desert nights and oh yes, my light bill is less even using A/C.
Thank you for ruining the state that I grew up in. By the way, I’m not alone in that many a Vermonter has left because of the expense, something the Democrats deny.


Mark Milazzo January 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Agree John. My main home is now in South Carolina


Kenneth McDaniel January 21, 2016 at 12:49 am

I just can’t wait to leave this state. Tax hungry politicians are destroying it.


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