Rumor has it that the legislature is looking to adjourn this week, on Saturday. This means that it has to finalize a budget bill and two revenue bills, the miscellaneous tax bill and the fee bill. All three bills are in conference committees.

Budget: As far as the budget goes here is a good summary of the differences between the House and Senate:

Negotiations Begin on 5.8 Billion Spending Budget

Taxes: With taxes, a major difference between the House and Senate miscellaneous bills is the Senate’s removal of the across the board increase in the employer assessment tax and the removal of the increase in the bank franchise tax for large banks. The business community’s response to these increases is reported here:

Business Community Pushes Back on Tax Increases

The Senate also did not agree with increasing the gross receipts fuel tax for natural gas.

With respect to the effort to resurrect and amend a currently unenforceable statute requiring internet vendors to collect Vermont’s sales tax, the Senate kicked back the effective date of the change to allow current litigation around the issue more time to proceed. There is a US Supreme Court decision blocking states from collecting the tax that states are hoping will be overturned. The House still prefers its earlier enactment date so as to apply pressure to the US Congress to enact legislation allowing states to collect the tax.

A complete side-by-side chart of the differences in the House and Senate miscellaneous tax bills can be seen here:

H.873: Side-by-Side As Passed House As Passed Senate

Fees: The major difference in the House and Senate bills is the last minute creation of an EB-5 program oversight structure and security brokers, dealers   and investment advisor fees. This was created in response to the securities fraud complaints filed against the owners of the Q Burke Resort. Despite its last minute creation, the new EB-5 regulatory scheme is not an area of disagreement. Fees were flagged for further discussion in relation to using them for funding for staff at the Department of Financial Regulation.

A big area of concern to the House is the Senate’s decision to delete a manufacturers’ fee on e cigarettes. The Senate was advised that the tax is uncollectable. The House wants some level of regulation over e cigarettes to act as a deterrent to their sale in Vermont.

Here is a complete side-by- side chart comparing the House and Senate fees bills: 

H.872 Side-by- Side As Amended by Senate

Property Taxes: Finally, as predicted by Campaign for Vermont, Act 46 is not going to lower your property taxes. 

It’s going to increase them.

Despite being down to the wire there is still value in contacting your legislators about taxes, fees and/or other issues of concern.

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Barbara Crippen
Policy Coordinator

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