No new taxes. Governor Shumlin has ruled out submitting a budget that raises taxes to mitigate an anticipated budget shortfall.
Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding told the group that simply addressing this problem with new revenue represents a onetime solution to an ongoing problem. That's why Spaulding says the administration will present a budget that doesn't include any tax increases. Instead, the plan will reduce the growth rate in state spending.
But this is no real surprise, we were warned (or assured depending on your tax bracket) by Governor Shumlin almost from the start.
Frankly, he told us who he favored in 2011:
“The state of Vermont does not have the flexibility to do that [raise VT income taxes] because we all know New Hampshire is to our east and Florida is not far away and frankly my job is to take the 435 high-income tax payers in Vermont and grow that base, grow our customer base so that we have more revenue.” [added emphasis]
What will they suggest for now to close the budget shortfall? Maybe some old ideas are stored away — let’s see, yup, here’s a few in the bottom of this barrel — oh here’s a couple “winners”: Taxing break-open lottery tickets, the kind sold in social clubs and bars. Or maybe this one: fiddle with err … trade-off the “too generous” EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) benefits to cover child care costs.
Maybe this one way down in the bottom: legalize casino gambling. Perhaps there could be floating casinos on Lake Champlain. In fairness that one wasn’t Shumlin’s, but it’s got to be from the bottom of the same barrel of make-the-poor-and-working-class-pay budget tricks.