The Democratic political establishment of famously liberal Vermont has balanced the state’s budget without hitting up wealthier residents for more money, The New York Times
reports. Newly elected Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Democratic-controlled Legislature both rejected a tax increase on higher incomes, despite an offer to pay more made by some famous, well-to-do Vermonters, including the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
“I’m very grateful to them for their generosity,” Shumlin said. “But we’re already asking a lot of our wealthy residents.”
Some "scattered" taxes went up to close a $176 million gap in a $4.6 billion budget for fiscal 2012, the Times reports. But spending cuts also got the state to its goal of zero red ink, which Vermont achieved without a balanced-budget mandate or amendment. The Freedom and Unity State is the only state, in fact, that has no such provision in its constitution.
“Vermonters like to think of ourselves as able to make sound decisions,” said Republican former Gov. Jim Douglas, “without the heavy hand of a constitution or government forcing it.”
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