4. CONCLUSION

 

The information in this study is largely derived from published sources. Throughout our work it became clear that additional information and research is warranted in a number of areas. Among those areas that are referenced in the sections above are:

Tax related questions continually arise throughout the Legislative and Executive branches as the economic and tax environment continues to change. For this reason, we would urge two approaches for additional research:

 
4.1. THE CREATION OF A TAX RESEARCH SECTION IN THE TAX DEPARTMENT

Estimated Cost - $95,000

We recommend that tax research be made part of the responsibilities of the Tax Department. Vermont is in the minority of states that do not have a permanent, full-time tax research capacity in its Tax Department. The Tax Department’s ability to produce information has been limited due to its antiquated computer system and its lack of a permanent research staff. The computer system is being replaced. Even with the new system, there is no permanent research staff in the Department. With the new information systems, it would be timely to invest in a research staff. This would allow the Legislative and Executive branches to be better prepared to make appropriate changes given the continually changing economic environment in which the tax system must operate. Specifically, we would expect this research section, over time, to:

We recommend an initial staffing of one researcher/director and one assistant analyst for a total estimated cost of $95,000. These two staff would work with the Tax Department’s existing tax policy analysts.

 

4.2. FURTHER LEGISLATIVE OR INDEPENDENT TAX STUDY

The impetus for this study resulted from a recommendation by the Economic Progress Council for a major tax study. In our more limited study, we realized that the lack of policy goals and directions hampered our ability to measure tax system effectiveness against overall goals. We are not making a recommendation for additional study at this time. If the Legislature chooses to go forward with additional research, we feel it should establish clear legislative direction or an oversight committee to develop system goals and objectives.