August 21, 2019
With State Looking For 20% Budget Reduction & Vermont’s Income Gap Continuing To Grow, Maybe It’s Time To Revisit Making State’s Wealthiest Pay A Little More?
Given the Scott Administration’s charge to department and agency heads to come up with a 20% reduction in spending by August 30 to "help close the gap between the projected growth in spending and available revenues," it might be time to revisit narrowing Vermont’s income gap by asking the state’s wealthiest to pay a little more.
Remember, according to a January 2018 Public Assets Institute report, from 2006 to 2016, average nominal income for the top 5 percent of Vermont earners rose 42 percent. Over the same period, the bottom fifth of earners saw an average increase of 6 percent.
And then there’s this 2011 flashback from a Seven Days column penned by Shay Totten:
"It’s not every day that a group of Vermonters asks to be taxed more. But that’s just what happened last week when 50 of the state’s wealthiest residents wrote Gov. Peter Shumlin a letter to say they’d pony up to help close the state’s $176 million budget gap and keep services intact for the poor, elderly and disabled."
Sadly, nothing came of the letter writers’ request and cuts to state jobs and services were enacted instead as the way to balance Vermont’s sagging budget.
So what do you think? Is it time?