Free Press: Legislature hunts for $10 M in savings to pay for tax deal

Full article at the Burlington Free Press
May 8 – Written by NANCY REMSEN, Free Press Staff Writer

MONTPELIER — Financial advisors to the Legislature and the governor presented House and Senate budget negotiators with $6.2 million in savings – two-thirds of the $10 million goal set in the tax avoidance agreement Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders announced Tuesday.

Negotiators had yet to accept any of the six options, but that could come as soon as today.

Finance Commissioner Jim Reardon offered two proposals totaling $4 million on behalf of the Shumlin administration.

He said the administration would deliver $2.5 million in savings by reducing overtime, travel, temporary staff and by consulting with experts to increase government efficiency.

“We had planned on pursuing this after the legislative session anyway,” Reardon said.

Under the administration’s second proposal, projected to bring in an additional $1.5 million, the Department of Taxes proposes to beef up its collection of taxes owed but not paid. Reardon offered a list of strategies the tax department proposes in its search for unpaid taxes including room tax compliance checks, fuel gross receipts and tobacco tax audits and data matching for bars.