FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Sunderland, VT Republican Chair
Date: October 15, 2014

VERMONT DEMOCRATS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO DRAW ATTENTION TO PROPERTY TAX CRISIS THEY CREATED AND HAVE REFUSED TO CORRECT

Less Than Three Weeks Before the Election, Dems Feign Concern

Montpelier, VT – Vermonters can tell an election is near when Vermont Democrats suddenly run from their politically extreme positions and attempt to appear more like mainstream, common sense Vermonters. But Vermonters are too smart and too observant to be deceived again by the apparent awakening of the Democrat supermajority in the legislature.

Working families, small business owners, young Vermonters and our senior citizens have known for years that the crisis of affordability in Vermont is getting worse — and the lopsided Democrat supermajority in the legislature has done nothing to help.

Democrats in the legislature have repeatedly blocked common sense Republican led proposals that would have started the conversation on education funding reform and property tax reduction.

Now — with less than three weeks until the election — the status quo Democrat supermajority today held a press conference in a desperate attempt to convince Vermonters that this time will be different than all the other times they have promised Vermonters action and failed to deliver. But Vermonters won’t be fooled again.

With a political stranglehold on the legislature and most statewide offices for the past four years, Governor Shumlin and the lopsided Democrat supermajority in the legislature had every opportunity to show leadership and take action. They could have listened, reached out to struggling Vermonters and proposed reforms that would have eased the crushing property tax burden that was instituted with Act 60 in 1997.

Instead, they have raised the statewide property tax by 14% over the last four years — including a 5% hike last year alone. These increases were twice as large — or more — as those seen in most Vermonters paychecks during that same time period.

In just the past few days, Governor Shumlin has been on his re-election campaign trail blaming excessive property taxes on the local voters and the budgets passed at the local level. Doesn’t he realize that in some school districts last year voters passed level budgets from the year before and STILL saw their property taxes increase?

Vermont Republicans have been steady and consistent in their fight for an education funding system that is more fair, more locally controlled and more effective in promoting educational quality for Vermont students. Vermont Republicans have repeatedly offered changes that would empower the local voter and contain the Democrats’ runaway spending and property tax rates. At every opportunity, the Democrat supermajority in the legislature has turned away from any meaningful reform.

Governor Shumlin and the legislative Democrats want Vermonters to believe that this time they are listening. But Vermonters have heard it all before. They know an election day conversion when they see one.

Vermonters want and deserve sincere leadership and bold action to bring real property tax reform to Vermont’s working families, our senior citizens, young people, and small business owners. That’s exactly what Vermont Republicans offer — and it’s what we will deliver with voters support on November 4th.

It’s time for a change.