STATEMENT: MAJORITY LEADERSHIP DEMONSTRATES COMMITMENT TO RAISING TAX RATES IN YEAR STATE HAS REVENUE SURPLUS
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott’s Communications Director Rebecca Kelley today issued the following statement:
“The Governor is open to a newly-proposed budget if legislative leaders keep their commitment to remove all ‘major points of dispute’ related to property tax rates. Unfortunately, they did not do what they said they would do.
“Earlier this week, Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe made a commitment to their fellow legislators, the Governor and Vermonters to pass a budget that ‘exclude[s] any major points of dispute’ to provide some certainty that the state would have a budget on July 1, while continuing negotiations to keep statewide property tax rates level in a year we have a budget surplus.
“Today, the Speaker and majority party in the House went back on that commitment, voting down two amendments – including one offered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers – that appeared to remove the one remaining point of dispute from their current budget. Without such an amendment, the majority party is poised to submit yet another budget that increases non-homestead property tax rates by $23 million on July 1.
“This makes it abundantly clear to Vermonters that the majority leaders will use every trick in the book to impose a property tax hike on Vermonters in a year we have $160 million more than the previous year, and a revenue surplus of at least $44 million – which is expected to grow.
“There is simply no reason to raise statewide property tax rates this year, and despite this latest maneuver, the Governor remains committed to preventing it while fully funding school budgets, as well as implementing reforms that stabilize tax rates and direct more of our dollars to educational opportunities for kids.”
For more on the Administration’s response to the Legislature’s new budget, click here.