It’s too early to know if the Senate’s budget compromise will survive. But it’s a good faith effort that deserves consideration. Most important, it keeps the homestead rate flat. It’s worth being adopted by the House and signed into law by the governor. It’s time to move on.
The Democrats would get the needed pay-down of pensions liabilities they want and successfully avoid the use of one-time funds for ongoing education expenses. Scott and the Republicans could legitimately claim that, when you balance the tax increase with the tax rebate check, they did not raise taxes.
By using Game Theory, we can predict that any compromise will fall in line more with what Gov. Phil Scott wants and less with what Democratic leadership has proposed, helping Vermont avoid a government shutdown. Scott has the self-interest and the leverage to stand firm for stable taxes.
The problem the Democrats face is that most homeowners badly want property tax relief, and are not very receptive to appeals for sound fiscal practice. It is after all election year, and if Scott’s proposal prevails, his strong suit in November will be that “he stopped rising school property taxes.”
If you can generate nearly half a billion dollars in savings on education spending in Vermont, shouldn’t cutting property taxes at least be on the list of things to do with the savings, and fairly high on the list at that?
Giddings said Marcraft Realty feels vindicated, although she believes that many commercial properties like the Brattleboro Outlet Center in southern Vermont are being over-assessed by towns.
“If I had gotten any truth with the economic development folks that you’d be increasing our taxes by 24 percent, we would not have made that expansion. We would have invested outside Vermont.”
For a homestead valued at $200,000, a 9.8-cent rate increase would equate to about an additional $196, compared with this year.
With the last of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union’s budgets being finalized this week, tax rate increases are projected in most of the districts to be well below the 8-to-10 cent increases that were expected statewide.
Like many towns across the state, Arlington’s school board has worked to limit any increases in spending, but is still facing the prospect of a sizeable property tax hike.
The stalemate between the governor and lawmakers over teachers health care negotiations continues, even as many at the Statehouse are ready for the extended session to adjourn.