Read their lips: “no new taxes.”
Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President John Campbell this afternoon said they’re choosing budget cuts over tax increases, and will scrap entirely House and Senate revenue bills that would have upped taxes on everything from the incomes of the rich to the sales of bottled water.
“We’ve been having conversations over last several days about the best way to bring closure to this session, while accomplishing the greater goals we set out at the beginning, which is to do everything in our power to find ways to create jobs and raise incomes for Vermonters that have jobs,” Shumlin said. “And we have come to an agreement on revenue and the budget that will allow us to leave this session without raising additional taxes.”
Shumlin’s comments came during a press conference in his ceremonial office in the Statehouse, where he, Smith and Campbell delivered news of the compromise to the media.
Smith said the decision will necessitate $10 million cuts from the smallest version of the fiscal year 2014 budget – delivered by the Senate.
“It’s not easy work, but we can do it,” Smith said. “And we can do it while making sure the rest of the session is very productive.”
All three men were silent on the issue of which line items would be cut to close the $10 million gap.
The agreement on taxes solves the most significant disagreement between the House, Senate and administration, and paves the way for a Saturday adjournment.