$24 million in new taxes: No appetite for income tax increase on top two brackets…yet

by Rob Roper

Peter Shumlin has said repeatedly as a Senator and now as a Governor that, “We are spending too much, and have used up our tax capacity.” “There is no more tax capacity left in Vermont. There is no more money in the bank.” “It’s just not there. We are tapped out.” Now the House, dominated by members of the governor’s own party, has passed $24 million in new taxes to fund a budget that increases spending by roughly 2 percent.

None of the Republican amendments aimed at blocking tax increases on hospitals, nursing home and home health organizations, cigarettes, and a new assessment that insurers would pay on claims succeeded. The votes were largely (but not entirely) along party lines. (See the House Journal for complete roll call votes.)

This frustrating series of defeats led Tom Burditt, a freshman Representative from West Rutland, to post on his facebook page,

I can’t keep my mouth shut any longer. For the most part I’ve tried to be non-partisan in my posts. However, on this issue, I have just been handed the last straw.

Bottom line…… thank a Democrat for $23,000,000 in new taxes!!! For those that may mis-count the zeros – it’s a Twenty Three Million Dollar Increase.

They, and I mean the Democrats, voted down all the amendments to reduce the impact of this bill and voted to raise your taxes. On a positive note, this is only a Misc. tax Bill, the real increases have not even been realized.

How did your representative vote? Call and ask them. (802)828-2228) Hold them accountable… DAMN IT!! Ask them why they increased your taxes. Tell them to STOP!

(Editor’s Note: If you do contact your legislator and get a response, let us know at TrueNorthReports.com. Help us keep them all accountable.)

Efforts to raise the income tax rates on the top two income brackets also failed. Representatives Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) and Paul Porrier (I-Barre City) moved to increase the rates for two years, arguing that “the rich” had benefited from the federal extension of the Bush tax cuts. If the feds didn’t want to pick those pockets, the state should do it.

Pearson along with Senator Anthony Pollina (D-Washington) had been pushing this plan for several weeks. They held a press conference, addressed the pro-union crowd on the State House steps, and Pearson made his case directly to the Democrat Caucus at their Tuesday meeting. The final vote on the floor was Yeas, 23. Nays, 117.

However, the lopsided nature of the vote appeared to have more to do with arm twisting from Democratic leadership than lack of sympathy from rank and file Democrats. As Rep. Peter Peltz (D-Woodbury) explained his vote, Raising income taxes on the wealthiest has now been brought forth.  I support the intention of this amendment, but believe the implementation will have to wait.” For how long?