Gov. Shumlin, Vt. lawmakers reach deal on budget, taxes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Gov. Shumlin, Vt. lawmakers reach deal on budget, taxes

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

This year, the Vermont Statehouse appeared open to new tax proposals. Lawmakers proposed dozens, after relying on reserves since 2008 to keep the Green Mountain State in the black. The governor and legislative leaders openly bashed each other's plans.

"What we concluded is we're so close in terms of being able to balance the budget without raising revenue that we think that is the most prudent path the follow," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Tuesday, all parties agreed not to raise broad-based taxes like income, rooms and meals, and sales.

Rep. Jim Condon is one of six lawmakers tasked with arranging a compromise revenue plan.

"This is a great deal, not just for the lawmakers here, but for taxpayers in the state of Vermont," said Condon, D-Colchester.

Education property taxes will rise, a higher gas tax took effect beginning this month, though, and a health committee could still up the price of a pack of smokes.

Prior to Friday, Legislators sought at least $10 million in new revenue in order to balance the budget. But a stronger-than-expected stock market led to bigger tax returns. That, coupled with signs that a national internet sales tax could bring Vermont tens of millions of dollars annually, prompted state politicians to agree instead to cut $10 million.

"I'm not sure exactly what those cuts are going to be coming from, the Senate and House Appropriations, but they have pledged to find it, so that's good news," Condon said.

Republicans who spoke out against tax hikes, Tuesday and throughout the session, got exactly what they called for.

One Senator we spoke with compared the plan to crossing fingers and hoping. Many more are likely to weigh in once the list of potential cuts is made publicly available.

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