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Vermont REALTORS® Group Works for a Fair Property Tax System

By HOM Editorial Team
July 2015

Vermont REALTORS® is dedicated to making home ownership equitable and affordable in Vermont. One way it helps do this is by working to reform Vermont’s property-tax structure. Currently, Vermont has the third-highest property taxes in the nation.

Vermont’s education system is funded through property taxes. Despite a decline in school enrollment, property taxes have continued to increase anywhere from 7 percent to 20 percent over the last five years.

The taxes are not borne equally by all Vermonters. The amount of taxes paid is “income sensitive,” meaning the amount paid is based on the taxpayer’s income. Nonresidents, second-home owners, and high-income residents pay a disproportionate share of the school taxes. In some cases, according to Isaac Chavez, the CEO of Vermont REALTORS®, homeowners are paying property taxes equal to 4 percent of the value of their home each year.

Vermont REALTORS®, with the support and assistance of the National Association of REALTORS®, has launched a three-phase campaign aimed at property-tax reform in Vermont. About 18 months ago, the first phase was implemented when an economic study of the current property-tax structure was commissioned. The study provided recommendations as to how the tax structure could be reformed.

In the second phase of its campaign, Vermont REALTORS® reached out to consumers through a media campaign. In a poll of Vermont property owners, 70 percent of those polled said that the property tax structure needed to be reformed. Armed with the results of its report, Vermont REALTORS® focused efforts on educating consumers about property taxes and possible ways that the school-tax structure could be reformed. Thanks to Vermont REALTORS®, information about school spending, how it is funded through property taxes, and the impact of those taxes on homeowners is available online at http://www.knowmorevt.com/. The website also proposes solutions to school funding that would make property taxes within the state more equitable and less burdensome to homeowners and businesses.

Vermont REALTORS® will soon be launching the third phase of its property-tax reform campaign — a call-to-action for homeowners, consumers, businesses, legislators and others in the state. During this phase, Vermont REALTORS® will galvanize the state’s consumers to support legislation to reform the property-tax structure, and the candidates who support those reforms.

Vermont REALTORS® continues to work for property taxes that are fair to all.

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