What do GOP tax reform plans mean for Vermont?

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont state leaders are trying to digest House Republicans' newly released tax reform plan and would it mean for Vermonters.

State leaders are still trying to sort through the Republicans' new tax reform plan. "It's a fairly long document. We're assessing the ramifications of such, and the ripple effect it will have on Vermont, said Gov. Phil Scott.

Key parts include reducing seven current income brackets to four, limiting home mortgage deductions at half a million dollars, and eliminating deductions for student loan interest.

"That would be one of the areas that I would imagine is going to be pretty controversial," said Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom.

While Samsom says it's likely the plan or state tax code will change, if both stayed the same.... "As far as Vermont in the aggregate, it looks like it would actually increase taxable income," he said.

While some people we spoke with like the idea behind the plan. "I would like to have my taxes simpler and not have to hire someone to do it," said John Kriz, a taxpayer.

Others still want clarity. "I guess my biggest concern right now is how is it going to affect me, tax wise? How is it going to effect me and my family?" said Ron Adams of Fair Haven.

"It's really going to depend. Do you own your home? Do you take a mortgage deduction? Do you itemize deductions? Do you have high property taxes?" Samsom said.

The commissioner says the state is also looking at how they'd maintain revenues, which could mean changes to state deductions. But that will have to be reviewed by the legislature.

The state's delegation has been critical. "The focus of Congress should be on rewriting our tax code to provide growth and relief to the middle class. This bill does the opposite," said Congressman Peter Welch.

"Vermonters with medical expenses, student loans, or state tax payments are not the only ones with crucial stakes in this debate. These are serious pocketbook policy decisions that should not be rushed at hyper speed through a hyper-partisan process," Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to begin considering the bill next week. The President says he wants to sign it by the end of the year, but pundits are skeptical it will move that fast.