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Vote Christopher Hoyt For State Senate From Rutland County! :)
Property Tax Concerns
I am aware of the tremendous burden taxes can have on people these days, especially the property tax, and am committed to trying to find ways to reduce the burden for working Vermonters and to make things fairer and more affordable.  After all, where else do you see a tax that routinely takes 1.5-2.0% (or more) of your accumulated wealth each year, just for the privilege of owning a home?  To make matters worse, the poorer areas in the state in terms of land value (such as Fair Haven and other communities in Rutland County) end up paying an even higher percentage tax on their property than the richer areas in the state each year in taxes.  All this for a school system that is largely a relic of the past, and that has huge fixed costs that seem largely unnecessary in this day and age.  I am not afraid to really examine this issue, and to try to make the necessary reforms to ensure that not only are school children in all towns—regardless of wealth—given access to the best possible education, but to do it in a way that saves the average person money each year.  I know too many farmers in town that—even with Current Use—end up with $15,000-$20,000 property tax bills each year.  Who can afford that?  It’s obviously a very complex issue, but one that must have a solution that can improve upon the current state of things, and I intend to find it.  So far, I have thought of one small tweak that could help things.  Not much, but it’s a start, and shows they type of thinking I engage in and how I would approach the difficult subject of property tax reform. As it stands now, we all pay property taxes, either directly or through the rent we pay to our landlord.  Each student in school costs something on the order of $16,000 a year to educate, but no refund is given to those people with children that save the towns huge amounts of money each year by either homeschooling their kids or sending them to some form of private education--such as a Catholic school or, like in my town, a private school focused on outdoor education and learning.  It makes sense to me that if you are saving the school district $16,000 by not sending your kid to public school, you should at least be offered some small reward for doing so, namely a $2,000 refundable tax credit per child, with a max of, say, $8,000 per family per year.  Many people would like to homeschool, or send their kids to a private school, but just can’t quite afford to do so.  This plan would reward those families that made the tough decision to spend time or money to educate their children elsewhere, and which saves all the taxpayers in town collectively a huge sum of money. After all, a family of 4 children home-schooled would save the district’s taxpayers $64,000 or so--giving that $8,000 tax credit an 800% return on investment.  I remember one year, pre-Act 46, where just one family with four children moved into West Haven and everyone’s taxes in town literally went up about 30% that year as a result.  So, small shifts to reduce the number of kids in school can make a large difference, overall.  Granted, this would be a small step in the overall grand- problem of the property tax and school spending, but would still make a difference to taxpayers.  The other issues involving how schools are funded would require a more in-depth analysis and problem solving, of course, but is something I would try to tackle right away if elected to the Senate this fall. 
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