State of Vermont Archives: on Tax Reform

Phil Scott: Reduce unemployment payroll tax without impacting benefits

We have to remember that most businesses are small and owned by our neighbors. We must help employers in responsible ways, like reducing--not increasing--the cost of unemployment insurance without impacting benefits to the unemployed. And surely we can't add to the burden with a payroll tax on them or their workers.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Vermont legislature Jan 7, 2021

David Zuckerman: Rebuild economy by taxing wealthiest Vermonters

One of the main issues facing Vermonters is the high cost of living and doing business in the state. According to Forbes, the cost of doing business in Vermont is 12% above the national average. Zuckerman said, "I think we should take resources from the wealthiest Vermonters, the top folks who are over a quarter million in income, and say now is the time for you to put resources in to our economy to help build us out of this pandemic."
Source: MyChamplainValley on 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial debate Nov 2, 2020

David Zuckerman: Multiple ways of revenue, including taxes

On taxation: "There are multiple ways of raising revenue which, yes, includes taxes. As we state in the press release possible paths forward would include 'sequestering some of the Trump Tax cuts that those making over a quarter of a million dollars received and increasing the PTT on homes over $700,000.'"
Source: Brattelboro Reformer on 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial race Oct 27, 2020

David Zuckerman: Address pandemic budget hole with taxes & rainy day fund

Though this year's budget is balanced, Vermont will have an estimated $100 million hole in the state's 2022 budget because of the pandemic. Zuckerman says he wants to turn to Vermont's rainy day fund which is over $200 million and would tax the richest Vermonters making over $250,000.
Source: WCAX-TV CBS-3 on 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial debate Oct 8, 2020

David Zuckerman: No new taxes; we will have to live within our means

Scott says the state will have to re-evaluate because there may be more help from Congress or Vermont's financial picture could change. He also stresses there will be no new taxes. "In January, a budget will have to be presented and it will be balanced and we will have to live within our means," he said. "We can't at this point in time put more burden on Vermonters."
Source: WCAX-TV CBS-3 on 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial debate Oct 8, 2020

David Zuckerman: Differentiate between those who can or cannot pay more taxes

First and foremost, we must identify the real burden of taxes and fees on Vermonters. We must be honest and smart in differentiating Vermonters who are struggling and cannot and should not pay more in taxes from those who have benefited from our collective infrastructure investments and are able to contribute more to our communities and the benefits of all.
Source: 2020 Vermont governor campaign website Apr 3, 2020

David Zuckerman: Institute a wealth tax on state's richest residents

Mirroring Bernie Sanders, Zuckerman has championed a $15 minimum wage, instituting a wealth tax on Vermont's richest residents, legalizing marijuana, and taking strong action on climate change. While in the Legislature, he spearheaded legislation that made Vermont the first state in the nation to require food manufacturers to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.
Source: Vermont Digger on 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial race Jan 13, 2020

Phil Scott: Increase estate tax exemption from $2.75M to $5.75M

The estate tax is a stable source--average revenue since 2004 has been about $19.5 million, and the lowest year was 2015 at $9.9 million. Tax professionals consistently tell me that because we are so far out of line with other states, the estate tax is a factor in retirees leaving. I propose increasing the current exemption from $2.75 million to $5.75 million over four years. This will align us with Maine and New York, and more closely with the federal exemption.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Vermont legislature Jan 24, 2019

Christine Hallquist: Revamp tax structure and increase taxes on the wealthy

Cameron Russell, Hallquist's campaign manager, said she wasn't surprised to hear she hadn't received the Progressive nomination. But he stressed that the candidate has touted progressive priorities like a Medicare-for-all and redesigning Vermont's tax structure to increase the burden on high-income earners.
Source: on 2018 Vermont gubernatorial race Aug 21, 2018

Brooke Paige: Vermont should not be the "Land of Endless Taxes"

Source: 2018 Vermont Senate campaign website Aug 14, 2018

Phil Scott: Scott and Republicans blocked many new taxes

Here are just some of the taxes and fees Governor Scott and Republican lawmakers were able to prevent: New carbon tax; New payroll tax on Vermonters' wages; Income tax surcharge; Increase in the meals and rooms tax; Occupancy fee; Per-parcel fee; Small business surcharge; Sugar tax; Bag tax; And many, many more!

Thanks to Governor Scott's vetoes and a united Republican Caucus, we avoided many new taxes and fees. They displayed fiscal responsibility and showed a real commitment to affordability.

Source: 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial campaign website Aug 7, 2018

Phil Scott: Tax burden takes a toll on economic development

"In my first 18 months in office, we've avoided $70 million in forecasted property tax rate increases--including two consecutive years of level rates for residential property tax payers. We've eliminated the income tax on social security for low and middle-income households.

As we move ahead, I look forward to working with fiscally responsible lawmakers of all parties who understand the toll the tax burden takes on our economy and economic development."

Source: 2020 Vermont Gubernatorial campaign website Aug 7, 2018

Keith Stern: Holding the line won't work; cut taxes and fees

Stern clearly wasn't accepting the incumbent's claim of holding the line on tax increases and fees as a final economic solution. He said he decided to enter the governor's race when he saw that the state budget chugged along merely by not raising taxes, adding that such an approach, without tax cuts, will ultimately fail. "We have such high taxes in this state," Stern said. "And then to just say 'we're not going to raise taxes (because) this is the solution, we're fine,' this is not acceptable."
Source: True North Reports on 2018 Vermont Gubernatorial race Jul 26, 2018

Keith Stern: Supports new tax reform and wants Vermont to cut taxes also

Stern says Vermont's current path forward is not sustainable. "The thing is, there are so many people that can't afford taxes in this state. To celebrate, here you go, we are not going to raise, not make it any more unaffordable for you, that is it not an answer," Stern said. Stern supports Trump's tax reform efforts and says the Green Mountain State needs to cut taxes. He differs on newly imposed international tariffs, saying new taxes only hurt the consumer.
Source: on 2018 Vermont Gubernatorial race Jul 25, 2018

Phil Scott: Balanced budget without raising taxes

Early in my career working construction, I learned that when you find yourself in a hole and have a problem, the first thing you do is stop digging. Well, I'm proud to report that last year we stopped digging. We passed a budget that invested in our people and economy, without raising a single tax or fee. We closed a budget gap of more than $60 million, and limited budget growth to just over 1%, while wages grew at about 2%. This means--for the first time in recent history -that state government actually helped people keep more of what they earned.
Source: 2018 Vermont State of the State address Jan 4, 2018

Scott Milne: Cap the state-wide property tax in first two weeks

I will work with the Legislature to overhaul our education funding system. Ideally, we would decrease the system's reliance on property taxes. Such a fundamental change must be brought about by a close partnership between the Governor & the Legislature. By getting our complex apparatus clarified and running efficiently, and re-allocating resources, together we can be the education state.

As governor, I would make this issue a top priority. When the Legislature reconvenes in January, I want to pass the cap in the first two weeks of the session. By capping the state-wide property tax, legislators would be pressured to work across party lines to Find a solution to rising property taxes. Several municipal select boards have already expressed support of this proposal. Vermonters can help make this a reality and assist in this process by pushing their select boards and legislators to support the "Cap Our Rate" resolution.

Source: 2016 Vermont Senate campaign website Aug 8, 2016

Bruce Lisman: Stop taxing retirement benefits & other new taxes & fees

Lisman issued the following statement regarding the high taxes that Vermont veterans and seniors face:

We must end Vermont's over taxation of veterans & senior citizens. Although Vermont has one of the country's highest percentages of senior citizens, it is one of only nine states that taxes military retirement pay and one of 13 states that taxes Social Security benefits.

As Governor, I will end the taxation of military retirement pay and work to substantially roll back the taxes on Social Security benefits. Moreover, I will put a stop to the insatiable spending habits of Governor Shumlin, and those who have stood by silently, have extracted more than $640 million in new taxes, fees, and surcharges from Vermonters over the past five years.

Vermont's high tax burden is driving many seniors to leave our state. We must break the cycle of spending at a faster pace than our economy grows. More important, we must treat our veterans and seniors fairly and with the respect they deserve.

Source: 2016 gubernatorial campaign website Apr 18, 2016

Bruce Lisman: Reset our finances and no new taxes

Republican Bruce Lisman presented what he calls a multiyear approach to recast state government. "I'd manage the damn budget. Set spending at 2-3 percent per year to reset our finances and no new taxes. And find 2 percent efficiencies with a brilliant, motivated management team. Recharge our government by bringing real managers into it, those people we find not because we know them but because they're talented," Lisman said.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott called for a collaborative approach to improving affordability for families. "I will neither propose nor will I sign a budget that exceeds these very reasonable limits. Working families need a break," said Scott, R-Vermont. "What we're really doing is creating an environment that is helpful to them and a state government that is by their side and not on their back."

Both Republicans have said the state's health exchange has hurt the business climate in the state.

Source: WCAX coverage of 2016 Vermont gubernatorial debates Dec 16, 2015

Phil Scott: Property taxes shouldn't grow faster than property values

In 2014, 50% of Vermont's school students saw their school budgets voted down as many communities fought back against the property tax rates. Many communities reduced their budgets but still had substantially higher property tax rates imposed on them.

What did the Legislature do to address this unsustainable problem? Nothing. The property tax system is broken and Scott believes it's time for the Legislature to stop sidestepping this challenge and work with school boards to find a reasonable solution.

As a matter of principle, Scott does not believe property taxes should grow faster, on average, than increases in income or increases in the underlying fair market value of the property being taxed. He also believes that the state should audit all of its unfunded mandates and repeal them.

Scott will continue be a voice for those Vermonters struggling to pay their property tax bills and make developing a real, sustainable reform of our property tax system a top priority.

Source: 2016 Vermont Gubernatorial campaign website Sep 9, 2015

Peter Shumlin: Avoid raising taxes; balance budget by cuts & efficiencies

Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and key legislative leaders today announced an agreement to avoid raising taxes on Vermonters, and instead focus on spending cuts and efficiencies to achieve a balanced budget for the state.

"We have an agreement among leadership that will allow for a timely adjournment of this session--an agreement that is right for Vermonters now," the Governor said. "Balancing our budget this session with no additional taxes will help keep our state on a strong path of economic recovery."

Said Speaker Smith, "I am confident that we can achieve our goals within the current revenues." Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will focus on reducing state spending by about $10 million through cuts and efficiencies, eliminating the need for any additional tax increases.

Source: 2016-related Vermont Gubernatorial press release May 7, 2013

Shap Smith: Avoid raising taxes; balance budget by cuts & efficiencies

Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and key legislative leaders today announced an agreement to avoid raising taxes on Vermonters, and instead focus on spending cuts and efficiencies to achieve a balanced budget for the state.

"When we entered this session, we were in a different place," said Speaker Smith. "We were facing significant uncertainty regarding the federal sequester. We received a revenue downgrade just as we entered the session. Now, fortunately, the picture is brighter. Our economy is stronger; we have better certainty regarding the effects of the federal cuts; we have a lower unemployment rate and a hopeful future. I am confident that we can achieve our goals of increasing public safety, improving state infrastructure, and investing in the well-being of Vermonters within the current revenues."

Legislators will focus on reducing state spending by about $10 million through cuts and efficiencies, eliminating the need for any additional tax increases.

Source: 2016-related Vermont Gubernatorial press release May 7, 2013

Peter Shumlin: Raise state budget reserve from 5% to 8%, for tough times

It should be abundantly clear that the current reserve of 5% of our state budget is not adequate to withstand tough times. I call upon the legislature to join me in raising our reserves to 8% as soon as we return to better times. Critics might also ask: why are we not raising taxes? Our top income tax rate is not 5%; it is nearly 9%. Our tax rates must remain competitive with other New England states to grow jobs.
Source: 2011 Vermont State of the State Address Jan 25, 2011

Greg Parke: Completely eliminate federal estate tax

Parke supports a complete elimination of the federal estate tax. Currently the first two million dollars of an estate is exempt from the tax. This exemption rises to $3.5 million in 2009. It reverts to one million in 2011. Parke says, “I just think there is something fundamentally wrong that just because you die the government has a right to take half of what you have built up for your family. That just irks me.”
Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 12, 2006

Richard Tarrant: Raise the estate tax exemption but don’t eliminate it

Tarrant says he’d support efforts to raise the exemption but he opposes a total elimination of the estate tax. Tarrant says, “Five, ten million dollars or maybe it varies depending upon the worth of the business because that gets complex. But thereafter I don’t have a problem with the estate tax and personally for what it’s worth I don’t believe you should leave kids tons of money. I don’t think it helps them at all.”
Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 12, 2006

Bernie Sanders: Capital gains & dividend tax cuts are giveaways to the rich

Sanders says a new plan in Congress is a giveaway to wealthy people. A key part of the legislation being debated in Washington this week extends a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. Sanders opposed the measure because he says 43 % of the tax benefits will go to individuals who earn at least a million dollars a year. Sanders says, “I think that that’s absurd. I mean this is again another example of President Bush and the Republican leadership leaning over backwards to help people who really don’t need any help. These are the wealthiest people in this country who are doing extraordinarily well and the help for the middle class is minimum.“

Sanders says he also opposed the bill because he feels it will increase the national debt. Sanders says, ”According to the non partisan CBO, the major reason that President Bush has presided over the largest deficits in our nation’s history is due to his tax policy and this will only make a very bad situation worse.

Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 11, 2006

Richard Tarrant: Extend capital gains and dividend tax cuts

Tarrant says a new Congressional tax cut plan will bring additional revenue into the federal Treasury. Tarrant supports extending a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. Tarrant says the rate cuts have encouraged individuals to buy and sell stock and the result has been an increase in federal revenue: Tarrant says, “The capital gains tax rate reduction and the dividend tax rate reduction were hugely successful. It’s clear that the capital gains and the dividend tax rate cuts worked. It generated a lot more tax revenue, a ton more tax revenue.“

Tarrant says Sanders’ belief that the plan will add to the national debt is dead wrong: Tarrant says, ”Count up the money, you know. Count it up one dollar at a time. It is in the treasury now. There’s no room for debate. It worked. The dollars are there. But Mr. Sanders is a broken record on this and he will never admit to having been wrong.“

Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio Jun 11, 2006

Matt Dunne: Increase taxes on high earners; decrease property taxes

Source: Vermont Congressional 2002 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

  • The above quotations are from State of Vermont Politicians: Archives.
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2020 Presidential contenders on Tax Reform:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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