Vermont Supreme Court Hears Lobby Tax Arguments.
The Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments in the dispute involving
the Vermont Society of Association Executives, Montpelier, and seven
other associations that sued the state in 1997 after the enactment of a
sweeping campaign finance law that singled out lobbyists and taxed them
based on the amount they spent on political speech. In a November 1999
decision, the Washington (County) Superior Court of Vermont held in
favor the plaintiffs, stating that the tax violates both the Vermont and
U.S. constitutions. That trial court decision was favorable to the
associations--holding the law to be unconstitutional on several
different grounds. The court also enjoined the state from collecting the
tax pending the state's appeal.