Property tax revenue jumps

We are presently at the half year mark for the Vermont state fiscal year. In spite of extreme difficulties during FY2021 on a number of fronts, revenue coming into the state has been strong. This is mainly because of the federal stimulus money. Looking at the three major funds, General Fund, Education Fund and the Transportation Fund, the total state revenue is up $167 million.

For the first half of the fiscal year, the General Fund is $110 million above where it was estimated to be. This is largely thanks to Personal Income Tax. Corporate Income Tax has also been strong.

The Transportation Fund is $11 million above its forecast. Surprisingly the Purchase and Use Tax, the Gasoline Tax, the Diesel Tax and the Department of Motor Vehicle Fees are all showing a higher bottom line than forecast in August.

Education Fund revenues are up $41 million. This is because of the federal stimulus checks which were sent to many Vermonters to help with household expenses during this difficult time of pandemic. Vermonters made purchases and many of those purchases had a Sales and Use tax. The revenue collected by the state from Sales and Use flows into the Education Fund.

Of special interest to Franklin County Residents is the very strong Property Transfer Tax increase of over $5 million above the August estimate. That’s the tax that needs to be paid when property is transferred from one owner to another. The state uses some of that tax revenue to clean up polluted water in areas including Lake Carmi, St.Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay. We’ve been hearing that the housing market is active and housing prices have increased. This reflects in the increased revenue received from the Property Transfer Tax.

The next revenue report at the end of January will include an updated revenue forecast. I’ll be watching for it and will pass along interesting changes.

In the meantime, do as much good as you can.

Carolyn Branagan, Georgia

My seat’s open

After five years as a St. Albans Town school board member for the Maple Run Unified School District, I have decided not to seek a third term. I am writing today to encourage others in our community to consider running for this open position, and to get their name on the ballot for Town Meeting Day this March 2. The process to do so could not be easier as, due to covid-19, the signature requirement has been waived.Interested? Download the one-page “Local Candidate Consent Form” available at vermont.gov fill it out and return it to the town clerk’s office by Monday, January 25. That’s it. Again, this is an open MRUSD school board seat for a St. Albans Town resident. Questions? I can be reached at slarosa@maplerun.org. It has been a pleasure working with such a dedicated, caring and hard-working team of people that make up the MRUSD. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served on this board, and would like to wish the existing, and incoming new members, all the best in their ongoing work with the district.

Steven LaRosa

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