Coalition urges tiered income tax

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(Host) A coalition of human service, environmental and labor groups is urging the Legislature to raise the state income tax instead of implementing cuts to a number of critical state programs.

Group spokesperson John Berkowitz says lawmakers should look back at the framework of former Governor Richard Snelling’s tax plan that was developed in 1991 to deal with a budget crisis. The Snelling plan temporarily created three income tax rates to retire the state budget deficit. Berkowitz says it’s a model for today’s budget problems at the Statehouse:

(Berkowitz) “When Republican Governor Richard Snelling and the Legislature raised the tax rate primarily on the highest income Vermonters, these so called ‘Snelling tiers’ raised $20 million and wiped out the budget deficit without having to make significant cuts in public services for Vermonters. We’re here to urge our leaders today to use the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget this year and pay it back next year when the additional revenues come in from an income tax rate increase.”

(Host) Governor Jim Douglas has vowed to oppose raising the state income tax because he believes it would have a negative impact on efforts to stimulate the Vermont economy.

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