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Introduced by Representative    Johnson of Canaan

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Taxation; education finance

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to repeal the education finance provisions of Act 60 and Act 68, and replace them with a new system based on specific educational requirements and local administration.  Every student would have the choice of which school or educational program to attend, so long as the school or program meets all state requirements for certification as a comprehensive program of high-quality education.  A local property tax would be imposed to raise the first $5,000.00 of education spending per student (with the $5,000.00 indexed for annual inflation in the cost of living), and paid to the local education fund.  A local property transfer tax could be imposed, at a rate ranging from one percent to ten percent to be voted by the town, with revenues paid into the town’s local education trust fund.  Fundraising and donations would also be paid into the town’s fund, and the fund could be used for required educational costs as well as education-related costs, such as food service, supplies, and construction.  Grand list values would be set at the property value at the time of sale, increased for inflation every year.  A property tax adjustment system would be based on the property taxpayer’s income only, with a cap on the adjustment at $1,000.00, indexed for COLA, and adjustment amounts paid to the town only in cases of tax delinquency.  The state education fund would issue each student an annual stipend for education costs, and the stipend would be indexed at one-half the COLA rate, with the base amount determined by fiscal year 2000 education revenue and expenses per student.  The stipend could not be used for religion classes, to maintain separation of church and state.  An education income tax would be imposed at the rate of 0.01 percent of tax liability, and this tax, plus a tax return line for donations, would create the revenue source for the state education fund.  Donations would qualify for a tax credit.  The general assembly would propose a constitutional amendment to allow local control of education, subject to certification standards.  If the town of Newark chooses by vote to do so, a three-year pilot project would be created in the town of Newark, with a report, at the end of the three years, on the quality of education, a parental and community assessment of the program, and an analysis of property sales and quality of life in the town.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont