Douglas urged to modify tax cut proposal

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(Host) House Democratic leader Gaye Symington is calling on Governor Jim Douglas to modify his tax equity plan to provide greater benefits to middle income taxpayers.The governor says he’s willing to discuss this issue.VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) When lawmakers return to Montpelier next week following their Town Meeting Day recess, it appears likely that there will be an effort to shake the governor’s tax equity plan from its current state of legislative limbo. Douglas wants to remove the so called 40 percent exemption on capital gains tax revenue at the state level and use this money to implement a personal income tax cut.

House Democrats like the idea of eliminating the exemption but they want to use the money to create a municipal revenue sharing fund that would allow individual towns to decide how best to use their share of the new revenue.

Late last week, House Ways and Means chairman Dick Marron said he wasn’t going to bring the bill out on the House floor because he was concerned that lawmakers might not support Douglas’s plan to cut personal income tax rates.

House Democratic leader Symington says she’s willing to consider an income tax cut plan as long as the proposal is changed to provide greater benefits for middle income people:

(Symington) “We suggested that property tax relief would be the better option. But we’re certainly willing to be part of a conversation about income tax relief that would be more fair, so that you wouldn’t see twice the rate of tax relief going to the higher income between $100,000 and $300,000 incomes. And instead we could see more even tax relief across all income brackets. We’re looking to have that conversation.”

(Kinzel) Douglas, who was touring Bennington County on Wednesday afternoon, said he’s open to the possibility of altering some of the details of his tax cut proposal:

(Douglas) “I’m certainly willing to look at modifications and have been discussing some with key legislators throughout the last couple of months. I think the plan I offered is the right one but I understand that the Legislative process involves change and compromise and accommodation of different points of view. So as far as I’m concerned there are no lines in the sand. I’m sure we can talk about this and I hope resolve it.”

(Kinzel) The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to review this issue next week.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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