New spending would raise state, local tax burden to 14.6%, Scott tax man tells Ways & Means

New spending would boost Vermont tax percentage from fourth to third highest in U.S.

By Guy Page

Paying for the new and current programs the Legislature wants in the 2024 budget will boost state and local taxes to an average of 14.57% of Vermonters’ income, Commissioner of Taxes Craig Bolio told the House Ways & Means Committee today.

Bolio singled out H.66, the paid leave bill sponsored by Ways & Means Chair Emilie Kornheiser (D-Brattleboro), as one of the tax-boosting spending proposals. 

Vermonters currently pay 13.6% of their income in state and local taxes, higher than any other state except New York, Connecticut, and Hawaii, Bolio said. An additional $365 million tax hike would boost Vermont to the third-highest state and local tax percentage in the nation.

“This year, on top of a more than $80 million property tax increase that Vermont taxpayers are expected to pay, the Legislature is considering over $285 million in additional taxes, including an unprecedented $178 million income tax increase under consideration in this Committee that raises both personal income tax and corporate income tax rates, and a $107.4 million payroll tax in H.66,” Bolio said in a written draft of his testimony. “Altogether, this more than $365 million tax increase would increase the share of Vermont income paid in state and local taxes to 14.57%, moving us up to the 3rd most taxed state in the country. 

Vermonters are already hard-hit by the ‘hidden tax’ of inflation, Bolio said. 

“At a time when Vermonters are paying more thanever for basic necessities, like food and housing, the Administration remains concerned about the impacts of these tax increases on Vermonters who are trying to get by, and the overall tax burden in the state,” Bolio said.

Bolio also painted a gloomy near-term economic future for the state’s finances:

  • Revenue forecast predicting a more than 7% general fund revenue reduction in FY24. 
  • News of economic uncertainty including multiple bank failures around the country
  • Concern about the national debt ceiling
  • Personal income tax receipts from April were $43 million lower than expected

Bolio’s warning about the dire consequences of overspending could be understood as a warning from the Scott administration that if the Legislature packs its entire wishlist into the 2024 budget, it may face a veto. A veto session for S.5, the Affordable Heating Act, has been tentatively set for June 20. An attempted override of a vetoed budget could be added to the agenda.  

9 replies »

  1. Anyone looking to move here will do the math and look elsewhere. Those attending school here will bolt as soon as their degree is in hand. Operating a business (other than a non-profit or NGO) will get increasingly worse if not impossible. Real estate (commerical and residential) values will crater (so much for building that equity where it really counts!) No new businesses will look here with a dismal labor force and substandard education. Well done legislators, elected officials, and bureaucrats! A failed State you have engineered and cratered in grand fashion. Give yourselves a round of applause.

    • Sadly this has been the case for 30+ years. Most of my classmates moved out right after high school, found good paying jobs with a low tax base. Now they just visit Stowe during fall season. A majority of the tax base in vermont is on a fixed income, and because people are leaving in droves, there won’t be ANY tax base to sustain even the most basic services, let alone the pie in the sky ideas in this budget.

    • Are the old, wordly “rich kids” needing to connect to nature here? Instead of just chasing after the “richer” ones?

      It seems this place has been the envy of outsiders and that is destroying our economy: our home.

      Where’s our moral compass? Maybe all our elected friends in Montpelier ought collectively honor the indigenous traditions and that would set them in the proper direction.

      This looks like an ugly, ugly dog fight we gotta break up! Maybe it’s just an awkward, temporary lack of inspiration?

  2. The state increased its revenue income significantly by introducing the sales internet tax which affected small business although it was supposed to help reduce taxes not increase it.
    We have more micro breweries per capita then any other state, with such abundance of new businesses in such industry this was supposed to alleviate our high tax burden, not increase it:
    The state legalized marijuana, with increased sales, taxes and fees this was supposed to also alleviate our tax rate and help reduce or taxes not increase it.
    And so on…
    It stinks of corruption, the over spending / over budgeting and incompetence has to stop.
    “non profits” milking tax monies is also massive problem.

    • You would think it would be fun to be a self-sufficient state, yes? To have independence in food production and a balanced budget? Where’s our can-do spirit? Looking too long where envy or the pride of life tries to focus us. Go back to basic moral and spiritual principles. Stay in them. Indigenous, Judeo-Christian, Civil, Eastern…let us be unified in spirit and in truth.

  3. Government in Vermont has always put a lot of stock in being “first” at everything. Given that, is it really a surprise that our Representatives in Mount Peculiar want us to have the most government reliant populace in he country ?

  4. Capital losses in 2022 reduced our income taxes to zero, more on the horizon

Leave a Reply