A Voter's Question - Taxes, Business & Job Creation

Q: With regards to promoting business and creating jobs in VT by retaining or attracting business to the state: Given that most small business owners (S-corps, LLC and Partnerships) pay income taxes at the individual rates, that Vermont income taxes are coupled to the federal tax rates, and regardless of whether the current income tax rates will sunset and revert to higher taxes;

  1. What is your position on the current VT income tax structure?
  2. Would you support a change in the Vermont income tax to support and promote business growth in Vermont?

 A: I can't really speak to how corporations are taxed in Vermont. My expertise covers only personal income taxes, which does include some small businesses that fall under self-employment, e.g. contractors, daycare providers, etc. Currently Vermont's personal income tax is not pegged to the federal tax rate. It only uses the federal taxable income as the starting point for determining the Vermont taxable income. After state-specific additions and subtractions are applied, the VT taxable income is taxed according to a graduated rate. I don't see any need to change this system. Since I don't know a lot about how the corporate tax structure differs, I am open to information and suggestions.

However, there are tax-related things that can be done to help businesses grow and create jobs in Vermont.
  • I would favor tax credits for increasing the number of employees from one year to the next.
  • I would favor creation of low-interest loans funded through bonding for startup businesses.
  • I would also favor a temporary reduction of the statewide property tax on new businesses to help reduce startup costs.

Beyond tax policy, there are other steps we can take to improve conditions for economic growth.
  • I believe that some type of public option universal health insurance program, possibly a single-payer system, would help reduce the costs of health insurance to both businesses and individuals. I'm looking forward to the proposals of the Health Care Commission created by S.88 this year.
  • I believe that access to high-speed broadband throughout Vermont is essential if we want to grow 21st century businesses.
  • I believe that we need to keep our education standards high so that we have a workforce with the skills businesses need.