Sen. Diane Snelling, Chittenden

District: Chittenden (Map)
Party: Republican
Contact Information:
304 Piette Rd.
Hinesburg, VT 05461
[email protected]
(802) 482-4382


$36 Million Tax Increase (H.489). Passed 22-7, April 30, 2015. This bill is the principal revenue-raising vehicle to fund the FY2016 budget. Those voting YES approved $36 million in new and increased taxes on Vermonters by limiting Vermonters’ home mortgage deductions to 12%, disallowing charitable deductions to out of state organizations or those that do not serve Vermonters, levying a 2.5% tax increase on satellite TV and expanding Vermont’s 6% sales tax to sweetened beverages. SNELLING – YES

$14 Million Property Tax Increase (H.361). Passed 27-3, May 7, 2015. Those voting YES on this bill approved an estimated $14 million increase in school property taxes, setting the statewide homestead property tax rate at $1.59 per $100.00 for nonresidential property $1.00 multiplied by the district education property tax spending adjustment for the municipality for homestead property. The bill also creates a formula for financial incentives for districts to consolidate into Pre-K- 12 districts of no fewer than 900 students. It is highly debatable as to whether or not such consolidation will save money for taxpayers, and those voting NO see this legislation as a threat to small schools and local control. SNELLING – YES

Mandates 75% of Electric Sales Be From “Renewables” by 2032. (H.40). Passed 22-6, May 15, 2015. H.40 had many facets to it. It repealed the SPEED program and replaced it with a new RESET program, enabling Vermont utilities’ to continue to sell some Renewable Energy Credits. It also mandated that utilities have 75% of their electricity portfolio come from renewable sources by 2032. This, of course, is a mandate on customers to buy the more expensive renewables, and a requirement that more renewable electricity projects be built (25 megawatts per year). This many wind towers and solar facilities will have a negative impact on Vermont’s scenic landscape. SNELLING – YES

Allow Towns “Substantial Deference” When Siting Renewable Power Facilities (H.40, KITCHELL ET AL AMENDMENT). Failed 10-19, May 15, 2015. The Kitchell Amendment would have given “substantial deference” to local municipal conservation planning when considering the siting of a renewable energy generating facility. Those voting YES gave deference to local community planning in regard to siting renewable energy facilities. Those voting NO supported allowing minimal influence by towns when determining siting decisions and to prioritize renewable energy development over conservation. SNELLING – NO

Restrict Firearms Ownership for Some Felons/Mentally Ill Citizens (S.141). Passed 20-8, March 25, 2015. Those voting YES on the bill believe this measure will work to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons, thereby reducing violent crime. Those voting NO believe the measures will not reduce crime or improve gun safety, citing the fact that the legislation is redundant (federal legislation is already in place to police these situations), and unnecessary — a “solution in search of a problem” – as Vermont’s existing gun laws have earned Vermont the lowest violent crime rate per capita in the nation, according to the FBI. SNELLING – YES

Allow Same Day Voter Registration (S.29) Passed 20-7, March 26, 2015. Those voting YES on S.29 would allow an individual to both register to vote and to vote on the same day (election day). Those voting NO believe this to be an invitation to voter fraud as there is not adequate opportunity for either the Town Clerk or other election monitors to verify that the persons registering to vote on election day are who they say they are, or are legal residents of where they claim to live. SNELLING – YES

Require Photo ID for Election Day Voter Registration (S.29, DEGREE AMENDMENT). Failed 7-21, April 1, 2015. The underlying bill, S.29, establishes “election day registration” to vote. (Ie, you can walk in off the streets on the first Tuesday of November, register to vote, vote, and leave). The Degree Amendment would have required those doing so to present a valid photo ID to prove they are who they say they are, and proof of residence such as an electric bill, pay stub, etc, to prove that they live where they say they live. Those voting YES on the Degree Amendment believe that requiring voters to prove who they are and that they live where they live will help prevent voter fraud, which is critical in a state like Vermont where elections are often determined by a handful of votes. Allowing election day registration without requiring mechanisms to verify who new registrants are or where they live is an invitation to voter fraud. Those voting NO cited that the prospect of voter fraud was not a compelling enough reason to pass the amendment. SNELLING – NO

Re-Elected, November 2014


5.5% ($88 MILLION) INCREASE TO 2015 BUDGET (H. 885) Passed 24-3, April 28, 2014. Those voting YES on H.885 supported general fund spending for FY2015 of $1.438 billion. This represents a 5.5% increase ($88 million) over the original FY2014 budget of $1.362 billion as passed in 2013, and a 3.8% increase over the FY2014 budget as adjusted (upward) in 2014.The 5.5% spending increase is five times the current rate of inflation (1.1%), and nearly double Vermonters’ average rate of personal income growth (2.88% for 2013). SNELLING – YES

$7.39 MILLION MISCELLANEOUS TAX INCREASE (H. 884). Passed 25-4, May 10, 2014. The Miscellaneous Tax bill is an annual adjustment of tax provisions needed to match revenues with spending. Those voting YES on H.884 voted in favor of expanding the Employer Assessment to those companies who offer insurance, but whose employees apply for Medicare, which is projected to raise $2.8 million. The bill also increased the tax on tobacco snuff from $2.24 to $2.62, which is projected to raise $700,000, and to implement a 92% wholesale tax on electronic cigarettes, which was projected to raise $500,000. It also proposes to publish the top 100 tax delinquents on a state website. SNELLING – YES

OVER $800,000 INCREASE IN MISCELLANEOUS FEES (H. 735) Passed 21-6, May 2, 2014. This bill sets the fees for professional licensing and state services. This year’s bill was made controversial by a provision requiring storage of firearms (and $200 fee for said storage) confiscated by law enforcement following domestic disturbances. The total increase in fees Vermonters will end up paying as a result of H.735 is estimated to be between $800,000 and $900,000. SNELLING – YES

STATE MANDATE THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS PAY FOR PRE-K (H. 270). Passed 19-9, May 2, 2014. This bill overrides local control and mandates that school districts pay for publicly funded prekindergarten for 10 hours per week/35 weeks annually. When the legislature established publicly funded pre-k in 2007, it did so with the assurance to communities that funding pre-k would remain voluntary. This violates an agreement. Those voting YES on H.270 voted for an estimated $10 million increase in education costs over the next five years. SNELLING – NO

ALLOW CHILDCARE BUSINESSES TO UNIONIZE/COLLECTIVLEY BARGAIN FOR SUBSIDIES (S. 316) Passed 22-8, February 27, 2014. This bill would allow early childcare businesses to form a union to collectively bargain with the state for taxpayer-funded subsidies. The legislature is essentially giving a union taxpayer money to lobby the legislature about something for which the legislature is already aware it is responsible, and forces hundreds of small business people in Vermont to pay “agency fees” (85% of union dues) to a union that they do not want to join.. SNELLING – NO

DO NOT IMPOSE A STATE MANDATED TWO-YEAR MORATORIUM ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS “GOING INDEPENDENT” (Sears, Benning, and Nitka Amendment to S. 91) Failed 10-18, March 13, 2014.  This amendment proposed a “strike all” to S.91 (a bill which created a two year moratorium on the practice of towns voting to close a local public school and allowing an independent school to open its place) and replace it with language calling for a study of the constitutionality/legality of the state’s authority to impose such a restriction on a town as well as the town’s right to do so. Those voting YES on this amendment opposed the moratorium. Those voting NO were in favor or placing a two-year. This is an issue of the legislature seizing control away from local communities. SNELLING – NO

ALLOW LOCAL CONTROL OVER SITING OF SOLAR PLANTS (S. 191). Failed 8-21, March 19, 2014. This bill would have required that ground mounted solar generation plants “comply with setback and screening requirements adopted by the municipality” in which the project would be built, and would have required the Public Service Board to respect local zoning and screening bylaws when siting solar projects. Those voting NO denied local communities communities more input into how and where solar plants are located. SNELLING – YES

REGULATE WATERFRONT PROPERTY RIGHTS (H. 526) Passed 22-6, February 7, 2014. H.526. This bill essentially allows the state to seize substantial control of (nominally) private property in a “protected shoreland area” defined as “all land located within 250 feet of the mean water level of a lake that is greater than 10 acres in surface area.”) SNELLING – YES

CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO EMPOWER CONGRESS TO RESTRICT THE FIRST AMENDMENT (J.S.R. 27) Passed 25-2, March 20, 2014. Those voting YES called for an Article 5 convention to propose amendments to the Constitution that would, ostensibly, limit the role of money in politics. However, the amendment would necessarily rewrite and/or undermine the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights, which guarantees our rights to freedom of speech, press, religion, peaceable assembly, and to petition government for redress of grievance. Those voting YES on this resolution voted in support what is, in effect, the subjugation of our rights to speech, press, assembly and to petition to the will (and force) of incumbent politicians. SNELLING – YES



$21.8 MILLION GAS TAX INCREASE (H.510). Passed 23-5, April 19, 2013.  Those voting YES agreed to increase the gas tax by roughly 6.5 cents per gallon via a 4% sales tax on the price of gasoline. They also voted to raise the tax on diesel fuel by 2.7 cents per gallon, and to 2.9 cents per gallon after the first year. It’s worth noting they voted to implement this tax in May of 2013 rather than use the usual July “effective” date in order to extract extra $1.6 million from taxpayers. SNELLING – YES

INCREASE INCOME TAX (Pollina Amendment to H.528). Failed 7-22, May 1, 2013. Those voting YES on this amendment voted to increase the top two income tax brackets from 8.8 percent and 8.95 percent to 9.8 percent and 10.45 percent respectively. This would set Vermont’s income tax rate at the 4th highest in the nation, following only Oregon, Hawaii, and California. SNELLING – NO

$50 MILLION PROPERTY TAX INCREASE (H.265). Passed 17-10, May 13, 2013. Those who voted YES on this bill voted to increase the residential property tax rate by $.05 per $100.00 of assessed value, and $.06 cents on non-residential property to $.94 and $1.44 respectively. Total impact on Vermont taxpayers is estimated to be more that $50 million. (Each penny increase in the base rate takes roughly $10 million in taxes, $6.5 million from residential and $3.5 million from non-residential). SNELLING – ABSENT

BLOCK PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM “GOING INDEPENDENT” (Collins Amendment to H. 521). Failed 12-14, May 9, 2013. Those voting YES on this amendment voted to strip local control away from communities in regard to their current legal right to open an independent school in place of their local public school. The amendment empowers the State Board of Education to deny approval to any such independent school, regardless of whether or not that independent school meets all requirements for approval, and mandates that the Board do so. SNELLING – NO

$9.49 MILLION MISCELLANEOUS TAX INCREASE (H. 528). Passed 24-5, May, 1, 2013. Those who voted YES on this bill voted to increase miscellaneous taxes on Vermonters by $9.49 million. Specifically, they voted to require Vermonters with adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 per year or more to pay a minimum tax of 3 percent, and placed a $12,000 cap on mortgage deductions. This legislation also included a $75,000 tax credit for the wood products industry, and a $500 tax credit for investing in the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan. It is worth noting that the Senate set out to raise $10 million as a revenue goal to meet their budget, but the package that they approved with this vote was $575,000 short of that goal. SNELLING – YES

FORCE NON-UNION WORKER TO PAY FEES TO UNIONS (S.14). Passed 24-5, February 6, 2013. Those voting YES on S.14 voted in favor of forcing non-union workers to pay a fee equal to 85% of the dues unionized workers pay to the union, effectively using government power to require citizens to make payments to a private organization that they want nothing to do with. S.14 affects roughly 2,600 education, state and municipal employees, mostly low-wage support staff who can least afford the payment. SNELLING – YES



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