12-10-13 – Totally and Completely Tapped Out

by Shayne Spence

Remember how much your property tax bill increased last year?  The statewide base rate was raised by five cents then, which translated to hundreds of dollars taken out of Vermonters’ pockets.  It was a large increase, totaling $50 million in added revenue to keep the state government afloat.  This added tax has many middle-income families struggling to afford their tax bills, especially when paired with the increased gas tax.  One would think, hope, and pray that increase would have been enough.  And House Speaker Shap Smith’s admission that any budget shortfalls are not because of reduced revenues would seem to preclude any tax increases.

Right?

Unfortunately, here in Vermont, common sense falls short.  Two weeks ago Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson suggested another five cent property tax hike – for a total increase of 22% over two years.  After spending the summer talking to Vermonters who just saw a $500 increase in their property tax bill last year, I am positive that the suggestion of another such increase would fly like a ton of bricks if it were up to average Vermonters.

But it’s not.  It’s up to the lawmakers in Montpelier, who have shown time and time again that they are out of touch with the middle class.  Despite most Vermont families being utterly tapped out by taxes, the unsustainable cost of public education has forced property tax rates up again and again, year after year.  We must either address these costs now or accept that this 22% increase is just the beginning.

Besides, if they want to be able to wrest another $2 billion dollars from taxpayers to pay for single-payer by 2017, the taxpayers need to actually have money left.

Shayne Spence is the Outreach and Development Coordinator at the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jim bulmer December 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Here we go again!! So what else is new? I first moved to Vermont in 1946 with my Dad. Then went out into the world. Bought land with my wife and family in 1971on which we started a homestead for our future retirement. Moved back full time in 1992. Have we seen the decline of Vermont!!! Now that the hippies are in control, they have been having a ball over the years spending other peoples’ money. I’d be willing to bet that by 2020 we will be down to 2 students per teacher and teachers’ pay will have doubled. Disalusioned? You bet!!!! Jim Bulmer, Bridgewater.

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laurel laframboise December 17, 2013 at 3:12 am

Here we go again!! Complaining about a problem but giving no solution. Here’s one: EAI should come up with 3 short and simply written bills it believes would solve VT’s worse problems. Then ask EAI members to run for state house & senate not as a D or R but as EAI, after agreeing to ONLY vote for those 3 bills and a budget if elected. Then push those bills to the voters, explaining how the power of their vote can by-pass politics and almost directly vote for the laws they want, and nothing else. Check out http://www.votekiss.org

Reply

Rob December 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Laurel, every bit of that would be completely illegal for EAI to do. We are a 501c(3) educational non profit organization. We can neither write legislation nor support candidates.

Reply

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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