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Letter: Binge Taxing in Montpelier

To the Editor:

It seems that the Vermont House and Senate are tripping over themselves in an effort raise taxes on Vermonters. Not just a few taxes, but many taxes. Not just on the reviled top 1 percent, but on the 100 percent. Among the tax increases voted out of either the House or the Senate Finance Committee:

∎  A cap on the mortgage interest deduction.

∎  A new minimum income tax rate.

∎ A sales tax on bottled water.

∎  A 5 cent increase in property taxes per $100 of valuation.

∎  A 6 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax

∎  Expansion of the sales tax to include soda, candy, dietary supplements, and clothing purchases of $110.

∎  An increase in tobacco taxes.

∎  An increase in the meal tax from 9 percent to 9.5 percent.

∎  A sales tax on downloaded software.

Maybe it would be quicker if they would simply tell us which taxes they do not plan on raising. The House plan increases taxes by $27 million and the Senate Finance Committee plan increases taxes on Vermonters by $10 million.

I doubt most Vermonters feel that we are taxed too little. On the contrary, selectboards and school boards across the state are establishing their priorities and balancing those priorities with their constituents’ ability to pay. Meanwhile, at the Statehouse, there doesn’t seem to be much balancing going on at all. They are binge taxing.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, for his part, has said, “This is not the time to raise income taxes, sales taxes, meals taxes on hard-working Vermonters.” However, if he does not veto these broad-based tax increases when they come to his desk, those words will ring very hollow. It is time to rethink one-party rule in Montpelier.

Larry J. Dougher Jr.