Taxes continue relentless rise
In typical Herald fashion, the work of the just concluded legislative session has been spun so that if anyone didn’t know better, the Herald would have the readers believe that minor taxes were raised and those that were hiked would have a minimal impact on income earners.
The truth is much, much different than the implication(s), however.
1) The General Fund budget increased by 4.2 percent; did paychecks of income earners go up by 4.2 percent? I think not. The General Fund has increased at almost double the rate of inflation for the last five years — even during the great recession.
2) The Herald made the statement in an op-ed that the gas tax was raised because fuel efficient vehicles are consuming less fuel, causing less money to come to AOT. Truth is the Legislature diverts money from the Transportation Fund to prop up education, and, if the millions and millions of dollars were back there, there probably would not have been a need for this tax hike.
3) The education fund was increased by $50 million, which will be evident in property tax bills. This is $50 million that is about to be charged to Vermont property owners, to be billed and collected by local municipal government; the state gets this money with virtually no effort, expense; the delinquencies are borne by local government, but the full amount of the share any town/city is obligated to must be paid up front.
In my view, it is the combination of all these tax hikes which has caused Rutland Town’s school budget to go down three times. The voters have had it with this combination of everything taxes.
The legislators in the Rutland Town/City delegation voted against these tax increases, except for one representative, and that is Herb Russell (D), who voted for every increase presented.
JAMES B. HALL