Vermont Democrat Running for Governor: 'Who Wants to Raise Taxes?'

'That's just not something that anyone would want to do'

August 15, 2018

Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial nominee wondered Wednesday why anyone would ever want to raise taxes.

Christine Hallquist, the first transgender major-party nominee for governor, told MSNBC's Ali Velshi her opponent was trying to divide Vermonters by falsely portraying her as a tax-raiser. However, she is running on an avowedly progressive platform that includes universal primary health care and free public college.

"Last night, he went there in terms of adopting the national GOP agenda of using fear," she said. "I'm going to lead by hope and aspiration. He's going to lead by fear and division, and it's going to very clear."

"Last night, he told people, 'Christine's going to raise your taxes, Christine's going to raise your taxes,'" she added. "I never said I was going to raise anybody's taxes. Who wants to raise taxes? That's just not something that anyone would want to do, so that's clearly the tactic is to divide Vermonters and drive in fear."

Her own party does, calling for a repeal of last year's Republican tax overhaul in Congress to fund a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan. The GOP overhaul slashed corporate and individual rates, although critics said the tax relief favored the wealthy.

Hallquist's own state's prominent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) declared in 2016 he would hike taxes to pay for his proposals as president. The Tax Foundation concluded taxpayers would see their after-tax incomes plummet by an average of nearly 13 percent with his plan.

Sanders also said last year that Democrats would "absolutely" raise taxes on corporations if they took control of Congress, although President Donald Trump would be unlikely to sign a bill repealing his signature legislative accomplishment.

Also, Vermont tried and failed to implement a single-payer system in 2014 with an unpopular set of tax hike proposals under Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Hallquist is an underdog in the race, but Scott's popularity has declined since he signed a sweeping gun control bill into law, despite the state's low gun violence and previous statement that the state didn't need new gun laws.

However, that won't be a wedge issue in the campaign; Hallquist told CNN on Wednesday she and Scott didn't have many differences on their gun control views.