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.”
To which I can only say, please don’t. Don’t pretend to be a G-droppin’ populist while defending the privileges of the few.
A couple weeks ago, I tossed out a peculiar notion:
Maybe he’s pulling a Tom Salmon, and planning to run as a Republican next year.
Ha-ha funny, right? Well, if he vetoes the tax bill, changing parties might be his best option. He’d be risking a primary challenge, and practically daring the Progressives to enter the race.
I can see it now: at a Monday media event, Shumlin vetoes the tax bill with these words:
For some time, I have seen the party I’ve served for many years endanger the prosperity of hard-working Vermonters. Their reckless tax-and-spend policies have held down our economy and put heavy burdens on our job-creating businesses.
I have been trying to keep control of Montpelier’s excesses by working with the Democrats. By passing this bill, they have convinced me that I must choose a new path forward. Therefore, I am vetoing this bill and joining the Republican Party, the true guardians of fiscal responsibility and economic opportunity. I believe that Vermonters will understand why I have taken this step, and see my administration in a new light.
You heard it here first.