Legislative plans to make up the deficit by taxing the dickens out of businesses struggling to emerge from economic lockdown are not in Vermonters’ best interests, Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute suggests.
“Current estimates show Vermont facing as much as a $430 budget shortfall for the 2021 budget year. We are looking at a potential 25 percent property tax increase to cover the pre-K-12 education budget. Potential tax increases discussed to fill the hole include increasing the 6 percent sales tax by a penny or two, expanding the sales tax to services, adding or increasing “sin” taxes to candy, sugary drinks and tobacco products, taxing clothing over $150, and taxing “cloud” based services. Respectfully speaking, this is not the way to go. Thinking of my barber, who has had to close her shop and forgo income for two months, is the Legislature really going to tell her that as she tries to open back up she’s going to have to shoulder a massive property tax increase on her small Main Street shop and start collecting, tracking and remitting a new sales tax for which she will have to increase prices on her also financially strapped customers? This is not how to re-open an economy.”
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