I would argue that a significant % of people abuse the system from those who
shelter income such as several self employed people I've come across to
those who live in Florida primarily, whose "residence" here is neither
insulated or heated nor approved as a residence (ie: seasonal camp)and who
DEFINITELY are not here on April 1st. 
There are a slew of people that refuse to understand that it isn't their
money (the state payment) so in our town, every year we get accusations of
how we are tricking them or cheating them out of their 4% discount on that
money. I explain that the correct way to look at it is that the state
payment itself is one large discount. We get people who want us to give them
the state payment and have their full bill paid out of their escrow. 
There are a ton of other issues on that end but another with our system is
the total disconnect between school spending and the tax rate for the town-
you could increase spending and see the tax rate decrease or decrease
spending and have the tax rate increase. It is a bad system made worse with
every modification.


James Gregoire
Board of Listers, Chair
Town of Fairfield

-----Original Message-----
From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Melissa Ross
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 10:25 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Education Rebates

Thank you for your response.  Though we can all come up with anecdotal
evidence of some people using the system and bending the rules, I think in
general it is fair and works very well.  Now that the HS-122 will no longer
need to be filed every year, this should also reduce the number of
late-filers which is a large part of the hassle of administering the law.
There is no perfect system though we might all wish there were!  Taxpayers
certainly appreciate the assistance they receive, and it has made my job
much easier now that people can actually see the adjustment applied to their
bill and recognize the help they are receiving.

Melissa Ross
Town Clerk & Treasurer
Town of Hinesburg
P.O. Box 133
Hinesburg, VT  05461

-----Original Message-----
From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Dave Sharpe
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Education Rebates

I have some concern that the education financing system that we
have, though flawed, is not well understood and is being judged
based on misinformation. I hope someone from the tax department will
make the effort to offer a better explanation than I can offer.

I would like to offer a couple of points, however. First, second
homes or any other non-residential property is not eligible for
income sensitivity, only one's residence. Secondly, in order to
receive a income credit on one's residence one needs to file an
income tax return, that is how the credit is calculated. To behave
otherwise is tax fraud.

The criticisms regarding the preferential treatment of those
households who live in homes of relative high value relative to
their income DO get a more substantial credit than the same
household living in a home of low value relative to their income.
Additionally, the criticisms regarding the asset value some
taxpayers have accumulated have some validity and the administration
and legislature have worked over the last several years to address
this situation. It does make one pause to wonder if these
individuals are paying their fair share of INCOME taxes considering
the income sensitivity calculation is based on a higher income
calculation than these individuals are paying their income tax on.
These problems do tend to make those of us who are frugal and play
by the rules somewhat resentful of those that game the system.

One of the difficulties that continues to bother me is how does a
tax system differentiate between the household living in a half
million dollar home with a $450K mortgage and the retired couple
that has paid off their home which has increased in value over the
years so it is now worth a half million yet they have no mortgage.

The concept of a simple income tax system has been debated over the
years and has not garnered enough support in either the various
administrations or the legislative bodies primarily because of the
significant increase in taxes that would be collected from the
households earning more than $250,000.

Rep. Dave Sharpe

> I have to agree with Lisa regarding this broken system.  In Groton
> we also have people with $300,000 - $500,000++ homes on our lakes
> (several of which are 2nd homes to boot!) and they receive large
> education tax payments.  I'm willing to bet the payments are MOST
> likely not due to income taxes overpaid.
> If you can't afford the taxes on these homes then maybe you
> shouldn't own them?  And certainly should not be owning multiple
> homes and receiving this help.
> I lived on our largest lake for 14 years and when the taxes got
> higher than what we felt we wanted to pay we sold the home and moved
> off the lake.  Darn, if we had stayed, with this system in place now
> and my menial income from the Town, my education tax payment credit
> would be huge and all the other residents would be paying my taxes!
> Poor timing on my part I guess lol. But I sleep well at night......
> Roberta Dana
> Town Treasurer & Tax Collector
> Groton, VT
> 802-584-3131
> [log in to unmask]
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: St. Albans Town Assistant Clerk
>   To: [log in to unmask]
>   Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:25 AM
>   Subject: Re: Education Rebates
>   Also, mobile home owners who own the home but rent the land, get a
> renters rebate on top of the tax rebate, often getting more rebate
> than owed. these don't bother me so much as the general rule is
> that they are elderly on fixed incomes and need every break they
> can get. the example below must be they have no reportable income
> which makes the rebate much higher.
>   i feel this whole program/system is broken. i'm seeing very well
> off people with $500,000 homes, who own prominent businesses,
> getting taxed for $8000.00 to $10,000.00 and the state rebates all
> but 1-2 thousand of it. so the people who only bought a
> $160,000.00 house, with obviously less income.... being mindful of
> the high taxes a more expensive house is going to have, gets about
> 700.00 rebated.  so the person being the most financially
> responsible loses out, and ends up paying more taxes to the town
> than the one that owns the mansion!!  go figure.
>   Lisa  Assistant Town Clerk
>    [log in to unmask]
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: Grace, Mary Jane
>     To: [log in to unmask]
>     Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 07:51
>     Subject: Re: Education Rebates
>     There can be a few reasons. Perhaps the individual included some
> income tax refund money.  Maybe the relative assessed value of
> the property changed considerably from the previous year.  Was
> the town reappraised this year.  It's possible the parcel was
> over-assessed previously relative to other properties in town.
> Maybe the effective tax rate changed considerably from the
> previous year.  The income sensitivity payment is a "look-back."
>  It uses the previous year's income, assessment and taxes.  You
> have to look at all those pieces.
>     Hope this helps.
>     Mary Jane Grace, Program Technician
>     Property Valuation and Review Division
>     Vermont Dept. of Taxes
>     802-828-5863
>     From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Town Clerk
>     Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 3:54 PM
>     To: [log in to unmask]
>     Subject: Education Rebates
>     Hi All!
>                 I know this question has been asked before, but for
> the life of me I can't recall any of the answers
> that have been given.
>     Here's the situation:  a property owner has a non taxable
> income, files an HS122 and gets an income sensitivity refund
> greater than his actual property tax, so, we send him a check
> for the difference.
>                 How is it possible for someone to get a "refund"
> greater than what they owe?  Does it seem right that
> some tax payers are not only supplementing the
> entire property tax of others, but also giving them
> extra?