Property Tax Yield Bill (H.887): Senate Floor May 10, 2024

The yield bill, H.887, reached the Senate floor late on Friday night. Senator Cummings shared the compromise they had reached with the House to “meld” the two study committees together. The finance study would now be a sub-committee for the Commission on the Future of Education. The major point of contention was the one-time bump in the property tax credit in an attempt to hold income sensitized taxpayers harmless.

Cummings had also compromised on the excess threshold at 118% of average district spending, which was halfway between the original House and Senate positions. She the report regarding the compromises with the House.

Senator MacDonald rose to state that “small rural schools, spread about in hilly and mountainous areas are more expensive to operate than schools in other areas… I don’t think anybody’s surprised by that. Vermont spends more money per pupil than almost any of the other 49 states. What does surprise many Vermonters is that when Vermont students take nationwide tests that compete with other states, this state… routinely, over and over again, performs at the highest level and fights above our own weight.”

NOTE: MacDonald is wrong here. A decade ago we were among the top performing systems in the country. However, we are now middle of the pack and still spending the second most per student. See the nation's report card.

He proceeded to blame Covid for the spending that occurred this year and resulted in the surge in property taxes. He stated they were studying “what they already know.”

NOTE: Again, he is wrong here. Spending has increased $900M in the last decade and has paced above inflation in the 25 years that current funding formula has been in place.

The roll call was 18-8 in favor of concurring with the House amendment.

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