Opinion: State must do more to create jobs, grow economy

I agree with your view that as the 2015 Legislature winds down that lawmakers and the governor must “hone in on just what is essential to Vermonters’ lives and what are the most pressing state priorities” (Angelo Lynn editorial, May 4).
From my perspective job growth and job creation is the most pressing priority for the state, and its future.
I have rarely heard so much concern by many Vermonters about their future as I have in the last year. This is a concern voiced to me from all segments of the Vermont community. In short, there is a deep apprehension about how we are going to compete in the future with a declining labor force, not enough skilled workers, and any new state-mandated barriers to job growth.
Gov. Shumlin has taken a hard line against three major changes in the state income tax law. They are putting a limit on the amount of home mortgage interest which can be deducted; limiting the amount of charitable deductions as well as putting a limit on catastrophic health care costs that can be deducted.
All of these proposed tax law changes would punish Vermonters, and more importantly, hurt the economy for the state and its residents, young and old.
Gov. Shumlin, and former Govs. Douglas and Dean, were all concerned about any adverse change in the state income tax as it has a direct impact on job growth and job creation. My experience is that each of these governors used their bully pulpit to push lawmakers near the end of the session to change spending and tax policies. This is nothing new.
Now that Gov. Shumlin has thrown in the towel on his effort to impose a payroll tax — which would have hurt the economy — there is no choice now but to heed his strong words to cut more state spending rather than resorting to job- killing changes in the state income tax as many legislators seem poised to enact.
If they do so, the governor will have no choice but to use his veto pen to help promote job growth and job creators so we do not start the next fiscal period in another deep pool of red ink.
Steve Terry, Middlebury

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