Lots of standing around and waiting at the Statehouse today. I just finished standing outside the Governor’s ceremonial office for about an hour, and my reward was to see the Big Three — Gov. Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell come out and announce they’d reached a deal on the tax bill. And the Governor added that “There will be a health care bill.”
They wouldn’t release any details yet, but they did manage to close the remaining gap. And they all looked happy standing shoulder-to-shoulder, less than 24 hours after Shumlin’s tough talk on taxes seemed to portend a veto of his own party’s tax plan.
Well, that won’t happen. And I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Rhetoric notwithstanding, there’s always a great deal of momentum toward deal-making at this stage. The unusual thing, really, was that the Governor’s plumage displays were aimed at fellow Democrats.
It’ll still be many hours before adjournment; the bills have to be drawn up, they have to clear the House and Senate, and there’ll need to be some suspending of the rules.
But at this point, it seems inevitable that the key bills will move and the Legislature will adjourn today.
Although the definition of “today” might get stretched a little.
Oh, Anne Galloway, stop making me love you.
Shumlin has repeatedly objected to any changes to the state income tax code that could result in wealthy Vermonters paying more in taxes.
Hehehehe. Sounds like something I’d write, but it’s actually a fair summation of the Governor’s stand on taxes throughout his tenure in office. Which continued, big time, last night:
Late Friday night the House and Senate agreed to a tax package that Gov. Peter Shumlin has already said he doesn’t like and may in fact veto.
… The $30 million legislative tax package includes a cap on itemized income tax deductions. Under the plan, taxpayers can claim up to two times the standard deduction, or $25,000 for a household, for itemized deductions. Medical expenses and charitable donations are exempted. The change limits deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, moving costs and other Schedule A itemized categories.
The plan includes a 3 percent alternative minimum tax for taxpayers who earn $150,000 or more.
Look, this isn’t a radical tax plan. It’d raise about $11 million a year, and it’s in line with what many states do. Vermont has very generous tax laws that provide plenty of breaks for top earners; the Legislature’s plan would take away some of those benefits.
I can almost hear the Governor talking about how this will hurt “hard-working Vermonters.”