Tax Madness

by Robert Maynard

The desperate search for more tax capacity on the part of mostly Democrats and Progressives has been a topic of numerous articles posted here on True North Reports.  (A few Republicans have occasionally joined in on this feeding frenzy)    The extent of this desperate search to raise taxes would be a good source of comedy if it wasn’t so destructive to our economic well being.  Be that as it may, every once in a while the whole mess becomes so absurd that their is not much left to do but poke fun of it.  This is exactly what Rep. Heidi Scheuermann did in comparing the mad rush to raise taxes to College Basketball’s March Madness:

Rep. Heidi Scheuermann today began handing out copies of a tournament bracket that pits 32 taxes against each other in a race for revenue dominance.

It’s a fun jab at the very real deliberations going on inside the House Committee on Ways and Means right now, where lawmakers are winnowing a slate of revenue options that range from sales taxes on clothing, candy and bottled water to the elimination of capital gains exemptions and the home-mortgage interest deduction.

Scheuermann, Stowe Republican who sits on the House Committee on Commerce, has even seeded the various possibilities. A tax on items sold on vending machines earned a two-seed, and will look to advance to the second round with a win over the seventh-seeded tax on car washes. In anther first-round match up, a tax on break-open tickets will look to pull the small upset over a $15,000 cap on home-mortgage interest deductions.

The tax that is currently getting the most attention in the gasoline tax:

Vermont State House Democrats carried the day by voting 105-37, despite strong Republican objections, to increase the state sales tax on gasoline, March 20. The tax will add a 4 percent increase to the price of gasoline at a time when many small businesses, including farmers and other working Vermonters, are struggling to make ends meet.

Debate over the increase lasted nearly the entire day March 20 with Republicans proposing various amendments.

Unfortunately, each amendment was voted down by the Democrat majority,” said House Minority leader Rep. Don Turner.

 As Rep. Turner pointed out,

the Republicans proposed 7 different amendments to the bill.  All of them would have been useful if passed, but this is the one that is most needed: “Find alternative funding or cuts to replace the need to increase the gas tax.”

Yes, the discussion taking place in Montpelier over taxes is madness, but it is not confined to March as Rep. Scheuermann hinted at in her own humorous way.  Nor is this madness new to Vermont.  I heard John McClaughry tell a story from when he was in the legislature that would be funny if it was not so serious.  John supposedly proposed an exit tax as a joke, not a serious proposal.  This would be a tax on those fleeing Vermont for greener pastures like New Hampshire.  John was trying to illustrate the absurdity of the desperate attempt to find more taxes to raise by suggesting an absurd proposal.  The problem was that a liberal legislator actually took that proposal seriously.  In College Basketball, the madness is confined to March.  Tax Madness, on the other hand, is not confined by time.



One thought on “Tax Madness

  1. True story! The occasion was the 1991 Snelling tax bill, which for the first time created three higher income tax brackets – 28-31-34% of federal tax. My amendment imposed the same rates on net worth of any individual desiring to flee Vermont, and authorized the Governor to employ the National Guard those people from removing assets from the state.
    One liberal Democratic Senator eagerly started to look for support for it before someone explained that the amendment could hardly be serious, coming from me.

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