Proposals for Tax Reform and Climate Action Announced by Lawmakers

Proposals for Tax Reform and Climate Action Announced by Lawmakers

Vermont Representatives Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, Diana Gonzalez, Johannah Leddy Donovan, and Martin LaLonde introduced four bills to the Legislature this month that focus on tax reform and putting a price on carbon pollution.

Each proposal offers a different revenue neutral tax reform paired with a gradually rising fee on carbon pollution paid by the companies that distribute fossil fuels. The four proposals, the lead sponsors, and the key elements of each bill are:

PROPERTY TAX RELIEF (Rep. Martin LaLonde): Lowers the statewide property tax, while diversifying and stabilizing Vermont’s education financing system.

ELIMINATE THE SALES TAX (Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas): Phases out Vermont’s regressive sales tax, making border businesses and Vermont brick-and-mortar stores more competitive with neighboring states and on-line retailers that don’t collect or remit Vermont’s sales tax.

INCOME TAX REFORM (Rep. Johanna Leddy Donovan): Cuts income taxes for every Vermonter and Vermont business and doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit – one of Vermont’s most powerful anti-poverty initiatives that assists over 40,000 low-income families each year.

CARBON DIVIDENDS (Rep. Diana Gonzalez): Provides a quarterly dividend check to every Vermonter and Vermont business to help speed the transition to the clean energy future.

Carbon pollution pricing is used around the world to address climate change and strengthen local economies. Republican Governor Jim Douglas implemented Vermont’s first price on carbon pollution in our electricity sector through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — and it is working. According to the Acadia Center, RGGI states have reduced emissions by 16% more than other states and seen 3.6% more economic growth since RGGI launched, while Vermont has the second lowest electric rates and the fastest GDP growth rate in New England.  Today’s bills would expand that successful model to Vermont’s transportation and heating sectors.

Read a commentary on the proposals penned by Representatives Copeland-Hanzas, Gonzalez, Leddy Donovan, and LaLonde here