Vermont’s Shadow Budget: How The State Forgoes $1 Billion In Taxes Each Year

As the Vermont Legislature works to overcome a $100 million budget gap for fiscal year 2016, one of its largest fiscal liabilities remains outside the reach of the annual budget bill. The state gives up about $1 billion in tax breaks annually through policies that have remained largely unchanged in recent years, even as lawmakers struggle to balance budgets.

Unlike state spending, most of the tax breaks are permanent – unless they’re amended. They’re not voted up or down annually like the budget. But every two years, the state tallies how much money it’s not collecting. Here’s the latest glimpse of who gets to keep it.

Data viz: state revenues

State revenue data is released officially in a PDF format that limits the public’s opportunity to analyze the health of Vermont’s income streams.

This ongoing, interactive data visualization, created from official sources and updated monthly with some exceptions, provides four years of actual revenues in the state’s major funds.

DATA: Jobs in Vermont

Amid election-season rhetoric and political spin about jobs, this series of data visualizations documented labor statistics over time and across sectors, with both county-level detail and nationwide context. I conceived and designed the series, wrangled and analyzed the data, and wrote accompanying explanatory stories.