In this last week’s debate, I heard Gov. Scott brag about increasing “affordability” by reducing taxes by $70 million. Sounds great but what does it really mean, who benefits?

The veto cut $50 million that was ear marked to pay down the state employee pension funds deficit. So, he avoided helping that problem, kicked it down the road for future tax payers.

He did veto the budgets and force modification the property taxes. It is hard to follow all the tracks but here is what I’ve found.

After the veto, the state’s contribution to property taxes was changed by many hands/issues, presumably the $50 million from the pension funds ended up here. He is taking credit for this, but it is really just robbing from future pension fund problems to make property taxes a bit lower today.

So, who benefits lower property taxes? The median income for Vermont (50% of Vermonters) is around $56,000. Only a small percentage of Vermonter who earn this or less can afford to own property, so a property tax cut does not make these lives more “affordable”.  

It is reasonable to assume that the wealthier one is the higher value your home. It is also reasonable to assume that the non-residential investment/business property is largely owned again by the wealthier segment of the Vermont population. So, following that logic it is reasonable to assume that a very large percentage of the $70m the Governor diverted to property tax relief went into the pockets of the wealthier Vermonters, making their lives more “affordable”. The wealthier you are the more property tax relief you got! Middle income Vermont’s did not benefit much from Gov. Scott’s “affordability” actions.

Beyond this, Gov. Scott’s actions to veto the minimum wage, veto family leave, oppose universal primary care hurts “real affordability” actions for most working Vermonters and actually has worked to further expand the wealth gap that our State and Nation suffers.  

This false “Affordability” of Gov. Scott is NOT what I want.  

We need David Zuckerman to make lives better for the real Vermonters, not just the wealthy.

Bob Zeliff

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