Tag Archives: Oliver Olsen

UPDATE: Jeremy Dodge’s income is below the federal poverty level. So why was his tax bill last year almost $5k?

Stefan Hard / Times Argus Jeremy Dodge's home, left, is seen just on the other side of a treeline from Gov. Peter Shumlin's new home at right in this aerial photo taken Tuesday over East Montpelier.  Shumlin purchased a 32-acre parcel  in June on which to build his new home, then purchased Dodge's 16-acre homestead in October in a private transaction that avoided an auction of Dodge's property for unpaid taxes. Dodge new says he regrets the sale.

Stefan Hard / Times Argus
Jeremy Dodge’s home, left, is seen just on the other side of a treeline from Gov. Peter Shumlin’s new home at right in this aerial photo taken Tuesday over East Montpelier. Shumlin purchased a 32-acre parcel in June on which to build his new home, then purchased Dodge’s 16-acre homestead in October in a private transaction that avoided an auction of Dodge’s property for unpaid taxes. Dodge new says he regrets the sale.

 

 It was Jeremy Dodge’s inability to pay nearly $18,000 in back taxes that ultimately cost him the deed to his 16-acre homestead in East Montpelier. But how could man who failed to crack the five-figure threshold in annual income accumulate such as massive property-tax bill?

Vermont’s progressive tax code reduces the obligations of lower-income homeowners by limiting their burden to a percentage of their annual income. Residents’ ability to avail themselves of “income sensitivity,” however, requires them file a “homestead declaration” with the Vermont Department of Taxes, something Dodge apparently failed to do.

Between 2010 and 2012, according to state records, no one filed a homestead declaration on the Dodge property. Dodge, who says he never made more than $10,000 in each of those years, was charged full freight on property taxes as a result. His bill for tax year 2012 – the property was at that point appraised at $233,700 – came in at $4,597.11.

Income sensitivity would have cut the bill to a fraction of that amount – the law limits property-tax bills of low-income homeowners’ to about 5 percent of annual income. According to East Montpelier town records, Dodge assumed ownership of the property deed in 2009, after which the delinquent taxes began piling up. Continue reading

Health care debate rages on as Rs, Ds argue merits of exchange

As predicted, the debate over H.559 – legislation that will, beginning in 2014, establish Vermont’s health benefits exchange – turned on party lines Thursday as House Republicans used a floor debate to hammer home their misgivings about the bill.

The GOP is concerned chiefly about the involuntary mandates contained of the legislation. Federal law requires each state to have a health benefits exchange, but doesn’t require anyone to actually purchase their insurance from it. The Shumlin administration and House Democrats, by contrast, are forcing all individuals and all businesses with 50 or fewer employees – about 96,000 Vermonters total – to buy from the exchange. Continue reading