The following press release was sent by the Phil Scott campaign on September 19, 2016.
‘I will veto a new sales tax on services’
Phil Scott the only candidate focused on the economy and affordability
Middlesex, Vt. – In response to his opponent’s statements supporting the creation of a new state sales tax on over 160 services, Phil Scott today said he would veto such a measure if it crossed his desk as Governor.
“My standard for evaluating public policy is very clear: If an idea decreases the costs of living and doing business here, I will support it. If it increases costs, I will oppose it. It’s that simple.” Scott said.
Scott noted that there are over 160 services that could be subjected to the new sales tax that his opponent supports, and that it would further disadvantage the local economies of communities along Vermont’s borders.
“Child care, cleaning services, accounting and bookkeeping, home heating maintenance and repair, barbers and hairdressers, website developers – the list goes on and on and on,” Scott said. “Add to this the $700 million in costs imposed on Vermonters by my opponent’s party over the last seven years – and the promise from some legislative leaders to advance a new ‘carbon tax’ on transportation and home heating fuels that could add as much as 88-cents to a gallon of gas – and you get a very clear picture of what is at stake in this election,” Scott said.
“We simply cannot make Vermont more affordable, or strengthen the economy, by continuing to increase the tax burden on families and employers. This is exactly the type of thinking that has created the Crisis of Affordability many Vermonters are confronting,” he added.
No Long-Term Reduction in the Tax Burden
“There is also no evidence to support the assertion new taxes on services would result in a reduction in the tax burden, or cost of living, over the mid-term or long-term,” Scott continued. “Instead, all of the evidence I’ve seen – and this has been my experience in the Legislature – is that when state government increases the number of things being taxed, it uses that new capacity to steadily increase the overall tax burden over time.”
Requires Expanded State Bureaucracy
Expanding the sales tax to services would also require the state’s tax department to add employees, management systems and enforcement officers.
“Dramatically expanding the scope of the sales tax would also require a large, and expensive, expansion of state government in order to administer it,” Scott said. “These costs would also fall onto taxpayers and make balancing the budget in other pro-growth areas all the more challenging.”
Voters Have a Clear Choice
“Vermonters have a clear choice,” Scott concluded. “I will fight to make Vermont more affordable and our economy stronger, and my opponent is already pledging to support higher taxes on working families and businesses,” he said. “In my view, we need to be moving in the opposite direction — toward lower tax burdens and lower costs of living — if we want to strengthen Vermont’s economy and make our state more affordable. Increasing the number of things state government can tax is not the answer.”