The Vermont House Ways and Means Committee is considering changes to the school funding law that are intended to:
– reduce reliance on the residential property tax by moving to a tax that is more closely related to ability to pay
– more closely link decisions on school budgets to the actual homestead tax paid
– move to a simpler system by shifting from income sensitivity for the majority of taxpayers to a direct school income tax based on adjusted gross income
– provide for greater transparency by eliminating the general fund transfer and substituting 100% of the sales tax and 25% of the meals and rooms tax and by moving responsibility for 4 programs that do not go directly to K-12 education to the general fund
– provide for greater transparency by separating the municipal and education tax bills and by creating a separate municipal rebate program
– continue to assist low income residents and property owners by creating a homestead exemption, using a progressive tax structure for the school income tax, and retaining the renter rebate program
– consistent with the requirements set out by the Vermont Supreme Court in State v. Brigham, change the way homestead property tax rates are calculated to create a stronger connection between spending decisions and tax rates
strengthen mechanisms for cost containment
No decisions have been made and different committee members will likely emphasize different goals. Our hope is that we will be able to move to a system that is simpler, more transparent, fair to taxpayers and fair to students and that gives school leaders better tools for cost containment.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome and they will make a difference as we continue this effort.
As public comments are being accepted right now, please feel free to email me comments, which I can then deliver to the House Ways and means Committee.
Vt. State Representative-WIndham 4 District
Putney, Dummerston, Westminster