April 7, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VERMONT DEMOCRATS FORCE YET ANOTHER PROPERTY TAX HIKE
VT Republican Amendment to Begin Fixing Property Tax System is Soundly Defeated
Montpelier, Vt. — Last week, Democrats in the Vermont House of Representatives hit working Vermonters, families, and struggling business owners with a 1-2 punch. First, they shot down –overwhelmingly along party lines — a Republican proposal to begin the process of fixing our state’s broken property tax system. Then, as if rubbing salt in property taxpayers wounds, they passed — again, overwhelmingly along party lines — a roughly 4% statewide residential property tax hike.
Republican State Representatives Patti Komline (R-Dorset) and Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) proposed an amendment to the tax hike bill that would finally scrap the current Act 60. The amendment would have provided the legislature with a 2-year window in which it would work to develop a new education funding system that would preserve Vermont’s quality of education, maintain equity across our state, and provide much needed relief to Vermonters and their families. But instead of adopting this forward looking and much needed reform, Vermont Democrats rejected the proposal and chose instead to stay with the failed system of the past.
“This is a cold and callous action by the Democrats in the legislature,” said Vermont Republican Party Chair David Sunderland, “especially after hearing the cries from Vermont property taxpayers on Town Meeting Day. With so many local school budgets rejected by voters, one would think the Democrat supermajority in the legislature would have listened and taken action to provide relief. Instead, they rejected a reasonable and common sense proposal to start the reform process and opted to not only continue with our current broken system — but to actually make it worse with their 4-cent statewide residential property tax hike. Vermont’s crisis of affordability is real and the Democrats in the House continue to inflame the crisis instead of taking steps to address it. It’s unconscionable.”
Vermonters understand that our current property tax system is broken and needs reform. It is now clear that Vermont Democrats simply will not listen. Vermont Republicans are listening and are committed to reforming our education funding laws and to providing a system that is transparent, equitable, simplified, and more in the control of local taxpayers — while preserving the high quality of education our parents demand. It is what Vermonters want and deserve.