We learned more about the governor’s plan to ensure that Vermonters do not inadvertently end up paying more income tax to the state as a result of the new federal tax laws. First, I want to correct an error that I made in my report last week. The current projected amount of tax increase on Vermonters is $30 million and not the $40 million I reported last week. These unintended tax increases have the most significant impact on working Vermonters with children that earn between $30,000 and $200,000. I believe that these hard working people deserve to keep more of the money they earn. The governor’s proposal would move our tax structure closer to adjusted gross income in order to ensure future stability and resiliency; reintroduce personal exemptions; create Vermont-defined income deductions; lower marginal rates while retaining fairness; increase the Vermont earned income tax credit; and introduce a tax credit for charitable contributions. Together, these measures will keep more money in Vermonters pockets, and avoid any adverse impacts from the new federal tax law. 

There continues to be a lot of talk in the House about reforming education funding. I remain concerned about the proposal that seems to have the most chance of passing. I believe that we need to develop a new way to funding our education system. However, I feel very strongly that we have to contain the unsustainable costs of Vermont’s pre K-12 education system before we transition into a new payment plan. Switching from the current education fund revenue sources, which include property taxes to the income tax, will likely allow for the continuation of unsustainable growth in school spending. The current plan is another example of the legislature using smoke and mirrors to mislead Vermonters. Education spending will continue to grow at unsustainable rates, the number of students will continue to decline, property taxes will be temporarily reduced and you will have less and less in your paycheck. I cannot support a plan that does not provide stability, better student outcomes and long-term cost savings.

Eli Vadnais, a senior at Milton High School, spent Tuesday shadowing Rep. Chris Mattos and me at the Statehouse. Eli said he enjoyed the visit, and I always enjoy sharing my experiences at the Statehouse with students.

Thank you for your continued support over the years. I look forward to representing you in Montpelier. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments or concerns. I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. Thank you and have a great week.