We, the people, are the government of Vermont. We elect representatives to create a state budget that, by raising and spending money, puts a voice to our priorities. At present, however, we often budget backwards, starting with a set amount of revenue, and then using it to fund existing programs.
A forward way to budget is to first determine what our needs are, decide how these needs can be met and then find the necessary revenues. This forward way creates a budget which carries out our governmental commitment to ourselves. To show clearly how the budget works, we need to be open, listing all the money raised and how all of it is spent. Revenues that would be raised by taxes, but are not, because of exemptions or credits (called tax expenditures), are, by default, expenses. Thus, over a billion dollars a year that we give away in tax expenditures should be shown in the expense column of our budget. By being forward and open, we can create a genuine people’s budget.
Rep. John Moran