VPR reports that the amendment was supported by the committee this morning. Next stop is the House floor. With the support of the committee of jurisdiction things look very good.
UPDATE, 3/27/14, 9:22 P.M.
The amendment has over fifty cosponsors now. They'll be making a presentation in House Ways & Means, which has members who are known to support the provision, in the morning before the amendment gets taken up on the floor.
Watch this space for more developments.
Expect the unexpected when the miscellaneous tax bill comes to the House floor later today.
I know what you're thinking. “Is there anything that I am less interested in than the miscellaneous tax bill?”
Well, that's about to change. You see, the miscellaneous tax bill is about raising money, and every year the Legislature hears the same message: there's not enough money to do what you want to do, whether it's housing and heating assistance for poor people, environmental protection, or any number of activities that would really make a positive difference in people's lives. And of course, the other half of that message, the half that comes across loud and clear, is that there is no additional taxing capacity, no appetite for raising taxes on Vermont's hard-working or rich people.
But some smart House members are looking around the country and have identified a new source of revenue. As you know, out in Colorado they're raking in the dough even faster than they thought they would. The projected income for the first year is $40 million in new taxes, all paid by Coloradans who are more than happy to shell out for the opportunity to get high.
Yes, the green is coming from marijuana, and a tripartisan group of legislators, more than thirty so far, think it would be a smart move to figure out how much Vermont could raise in taxes if we legalized pot. Tomorrow when the miscellaneous tax bill is taken up one of the amendments that will be put before the house is this:
Sec. XX JOINT FISCAL OFFICE REPORT
No later than January 15, 2015, the Joint Fiscal Office shall report to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance regarding the projected revenue impacts of legalizing the possession of marijuana, including the feasibility of a sales tax on marijuana and any other information that would assist the committees in considering marijuana policy reform.
It doesn't commit the state to doing anything, but if we're going to keep leaving money on the table we should at least know what kind of money we're talking about.
They're still working on the language, but with thirty members signed on they are already well on the way to getting this passed. And from what I hear, if anything the support in the Senate may be even stronger.
Count on seeing some major pushback from leadership, but this seems like the obvious next step.
Keep marijuana out of the hands of kids, regulate it, and start collecting the taxes Vermont needs.
This amendment is the first step.