January 25, 2013; Peter Hirschfeld; Times Argus
Rep. Chris Pearson, a Burlington Progressive and leader of his party’s House caucus, said he remains excited about Shumlin’s call for $17 million in new child care subsidies for low-income parents. He said he remains bewildered by Shumlin’s continued insistence on reducing the earned income tax credit — a program that benefits about 40,000 of the lowest-wage earners in Vermont — to fund it.
“We have a governor with Progressive priorities and Tea Party funding schemes,” Pearson said.
Pearson said he’s pleased to see the governor “at least acknowledge” the need for new revenue. In addition to raising millions by cutting tax exemptions for the poor, Shumlin’s budget included a proposed new tax on “tear-off” lotto tickets — a largely unregulated game of chance commonly found in private clubs and bars.
That money would be used to fund home-weatherization programs and renewable-energy subsidies. But Pearson said he’s discouraged that the governor has already dismissed out of hand a proposal to increase tax rates on filers in the top income bracket.
“I don’t understand his desire to go after a program that impacts 40,000 low-income Vermonters and to protect 4,000 of the wealthiest,” Pearson said.
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