The House GOP wants paid family leave. But not as written in the bill working its way through the Legislature.
“Why are we (and others) so opposed to this particular bill? To be clear, we support Vermont individuals and families having access to paid family and medical leave--if they choose. That is why we both stood behind the Governor’s voluntary plan, which would achieve exactly that. But both the advocates of fiscal restraint and affordability, as well as well as those concerned about the most vulnerable Vermonters, recognize this bill’s mistakes. This legislation is poorly designed, unaffordable, and actually does not protect the most vulnerable. Here is why:
First, the bill would impose a brand-new 0.20 percent payroll tax (plus another 0.38 percent optional tax for temporary disability insurance). That is on top of the sales tax, income tax, property tax, motor vehicle taxes, and more, that Vermonters already have to pay. It amounts to a multi-million dollar tax hike on Vermonters--even if they do not use the program. That is unaffordable, at a time when many Vermonters are unable to make ends meet. And if the costs of the program go up--or if lawmakers decide the current tax rate is insufficient--the payroll tax will go up too. In other words, this creates yet another tax-raising scheme for lawmakers to play with.
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