By Rob Roper
It’s income tax day. And, as such, it makes sense to take a look at who is paying what in Vermont for support of our state government. According to the latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), those earning…
$300,000 and higher (3841/1.03% filers) paid 26.21% of all Vermont State Income taxes.
$150,000-$299,999 (10,433/2.81% filers) paid 15.35%
$100,000-$149,999 (17,335/4.67%) filers) paid 13.39%
$75,000-$99,999 (20,858/5.62% filers) paid 10.43%
$50,000-$74,999 (36,064/9.71% filers) paid 11.20%
$25,000-$49,999 (65,393/17.61% filers) paid 10.93%
$10,000-$24,999 (56,130/15.12% filers) paid 4.32%
$9,999-lower (110,024/29.63%) filers) paid 0.95%
Out of State (51,274/13.82% filers) paid 7.32%
So, those Vermonters earning over $150,000 a year — just 14,274 people or 3.84% of the income tax paying population (a little over 2% of the total population) — are covering 41.56% of the $768,018,119 tab. That’s not a lot of people.
Remember also that folks earning less than that ($147,000) qualify for income sensitivity on their property taxes, and at income levels lower down the scale qualify for other government benefit programs, such as childcare subsides, Reach Up, etc. Those top two levels of filers don’t.
What’s important to acknowledge here is that these high earners are paying so the rest don’t have to. If the 3,841 Vermonters earning over $300,000 suddenly left the state, the burden of picking up their $201,325,567 would trickle down to everyone else. Not a pleasant prospect.
As such, state policy should be geared toward keeping such earners here in state. Perhaps even attracting more of them. Treating high earners like a cash piñata and denigrating them in the process as “greedy one-percenters” or other such epithets is, well, kind of stupid. See New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s dilemma, “Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did that. God forbid the rich leave.” A lot did leave, and the New Yorkers left behind have a $2.6 billion hole to fill as a result.
Wealthy taxpayers are something we should want to cultivate, not strip mine or hunt into extinction. So, maybe take some time today as you’re filing your taxes to thank the rich. Imagine what your bill would be without them.