in the State House of Representatives
on March 26, 2021, by a vote of
Purpose: To add a marginal tax increase of 3% to income over $500,000, the revenue from which would be used to repair Vermont’s neglected state pension obligations.
Analysis: The Cina amendment would have left Vermont with the second highest marginal income tax rate in the nation at 11.75%, behind only California.
Those voting YES believe that “the rich” need to be “asked” to pay “their fair share” regardless of any other economic implications or logical justifications.
The NO votes were more subtle. Some certainly believe saddling Vermont with the second highest marginal income tax rate in the country is bad economic policy and using such a tax to temporarily paper over an otherwise broken pension system without fixing the underlying structural problems makes no sense.
However, many others explained their NO votes not in principled opposition to taxing “the rich” in this manner, but rather in opposition to what the money would be used for. As Rep. Janet Ancel (D-Calais), chair of the Ways & Means Committee, stated for the record, “If we have capacity to increase taxes — and we may — we need to think carefully about how we decide to use that capacity.” Others balked at the procedure for bringing the proposal to the floor rather than the underlying substance.
So, Vermont’s higher earners should not breathe a full sigh of relief at this outcome. There is still significant sentiment in favor of eating you for dinner. The debate is over the recipe.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Friday, March 26, 2021: “…Shall the bill be amended as offered by Rep Cina and others? was decided in the negative. Yeas, 21. Nays, 125." (Read the Journal, pages p. 518 - 525). Watch the floor debate on YouTube.
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – NO
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – NO