WCAX: Tax Day Debate

Tax Day Debate

Montpelier, Vermont – April 15, 2009

Upset over government spending and high taxes, protesters held a modern-day Boston Tea Party.

“It’s time for the silent majority to get out there and tell the politicians to cut it out,” said Vincent Schuck of Newfane.

“I’m really impressed. With how liberal Vermont is– that this many people are fiscal conservatives and came out today,” said Pam Yerrington of Randolph.

It was one of several thousand rallies held across U.S. hoping that just like the Tea Party in 1773, it will lead to a new direction for the state and country.

“I think it’s time the common person stands up to the government taking everything from us,” said Bob Martin of Worcester.

But just one building over at the tax department– a much smaller group asked for just the opposite.

They want to pay more for taxes to save cuts to social service programs and state employee jobs.

“We’re not suggesting that we willy-nilly raise taxes but to do it in smart way that spreads out the burden,” said Lindsey Hescock of Middlebury.

“We need to have taxes to have the services and the infrastructure important to all of us,” said Sheila Reed, of Voices for Vt. Children.

Democratic lawmakers agree, and on Tax Day they supported a $24 million income tax hike.

“I don’t think anybody likes to pay taxes, I’m not wild about paying taxes, but I understand it’s an obligation of citizenship and I get a lot for the taxes I pay,” said Rep. Janet Ancel, D-Calais.

It would sunset in three years and people making more would pay more. For example, someone making under $75,000 would have to pay only $25 more a year under the income tax plan. But protesters say any tax hike will jeopardize families and businesses.

“I think they should find ways to cut spending – they keep taxing and taxing and more people are going to keep losing their jobs I think,” Martin said.

The tea party in Montpelier continued into the evening. A second one started in Rutland Wednesday evening and was scheduled to go until 8 p.m.

The Vermont House was still in session as of 6 p.m. debating the income tax hike. It was expected with a strong Democratic majority it would pass. Then it will go to the Senate where senators are looking at new revenues but may not use the income tax.

Kristin Carlson – WCAX News