Vt. lawmakers prepare to deal with budget shortfall

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Targeting Vt. tax exemptions

January 20,2012; Peter Hirschfeld; Rutland Herald

But in singling out the earned-income tax credit, Shumlin has ensured a more rigorous review of other tax expenditures that might be used to fund the expanded childcare subsidies, or other programs for which lawmakers are seeking funding.

Sen. Tim Ashe, a Chittenden County Democrat/Progressive and newly installed chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that in his hunt for $17 million, Shumlin might have failed to scrutinize adequately the merits of the source from which he decided to take it.

“Just because the governor has settled on that particular funding source, I think the Legislature should take the broad view and say if we want to fund childcare, and use that as our starting point, then what are the array of options?” Ashe says. “And it may be that there is something that we would believe is far more appropriate to take from to give to childcare.”

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Two key legislators have differing views on tax exemptions

January 18,2013; Nat Rudarakanchana; VTDigger

Sen. Tim Ashe and Rep. Janet Ancel, two lawmakers with strong influence over state taxes, are taking differing stances this year on how to approach the state’s more than $1.3 billion worth of tax exemptions.

Ashe, a Burlington Democrat/Progressive and newly named chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he’d like to review tax exemptions as a potential way to raise revenue. Ancel says eliminating tax breaks would be difficult and not necessarily beneficial.

“The governor has made very clear his interest in seeing no new broad-based taxes, and to the extent he means we should sort of shake all other trees first, I absolutely agree,” Ashe said last week.

“We should achieve fairness first before thinking about raising new revenues,” Ashe said. “In the tax code we have exemptions, some of which are no longer appropriate in the modern era. We’ll take a look at those.”

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Action Alert: Call the Governor Today!

Fellow Progressives,

On Tuesday, Progressive Legislators held a press conference at the Statehouse to express their concerns about Governor Peter Shumlin’s proposal to divert millions of dollars from the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program, an extremely effective anti-poverty program.  Although Progressives share the Governor’s goals of universal Pre-K and more affordable and accessible Higher-Ed, they have substantial concerns about funding these programs with what amounts to a tax increase for thousands of working Vermonters.

Will you join our Legislators in standing up for working families by calling the Governor today at 802-828-3333 and letting him know you don’t support this funding scheme?  You can also email him here.

Diverting money from the Earned Income Tax Credit shifts funds away from those who need it the most.  It is a new tax that hits lower-income Vermonters hardest.  Some may say this is not a broad-based tax.  But it is worse.  It is a tax targeted at those least able to afford it: low-income Vermonters, working families, and others struggling to make ends meet.  It is tax that would affect over 40,000 Vermonters.  The Earned Income Tax Credit is recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in Vermont.  Cutting it contradicts our focus on building a state budget that puts people first.

Rather than tax those who are least able to afford it, our Progressive Legislators are asking the Administration to take the time to look at other funding options.  Will you join their effort by contacting Governor Shumlin at 802-828-3333 today?

Thank you for all you do.


Robert Millar
Executive Director

What's Shummy up to With His $17 Million Switcheroo?

January 16, 2013; Paul Heintz; Seven Days

If there's one thing to know about Gov. Peter Shumlin's legislative chops, it's this: When you're playing checkers, he's playing chess. And he's probably just a few moves shy of taking your king.

Which makes it hard to imagine the governor didn't anticipate the tripartisan shit-storm kicked up by his proposal to fund child care subsidies for low-income Vermonters by cutting a popular tax credit used by other low-income Vermonters.

The $17 million switcheroo has been panned by Republicans, Progressives and even Shumlin's fellow Democrats, who have variously called it "half-baked," "a tough sell," "worse than a broad-based tax," and a case of "balancing the state budget on the backs of some of Vermont's poorest citizens."

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Shumlin hit on funding source for child care

January 16, 2013; Dave Gram; Brattleboro Reformer

"The earned income tax credit is one of our most effective anti-poverty programs," said Sen. Anthony Pollina of Washington County. "Diverting money from this important benefit is a tax increase on over 40,000 Vermonters who are least able to afford it: lower income people, working families and others struggling to make ends meet."

Rep. Chris Pearson, a Burlington Progressive, said he wants the state to have a discussion about possible new taxes, including a tax on the extraction of natural resources, which Vermont does not have.

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