Opposed to 1% Local Option Sales Tax

I would like to thank our Town Meeting Reps and the Brattleboro Selectboard for reviewing and reconsidering the support of the 1% Local Option Sales Tax.

I would like to express my opposition to this as a resident that has owned and operated small businesses here in Brattleboro spanning over the last 13 years. At this point it is no secret that running a business in Southern Vermont is a very difficult thing to do. And yes, it may seem that one penny on one dollar or bringing the Brattleboro sales tax from 6% up to 7% may not be a big deal but it really is. Right now, with every business in town competing with online retailers like Amazon, or watching potential customers go across the river to tax free New Hampshire, I feel strongly that this is not a beneficial option for the town nor to the businesses in Brattleboro.

As many folks understand, currently, the cost of doing business is relentless. Something as seemingly minuscule as a 1% Local Option Sales Tax comes down to feeling like continued punishment for most people already struggling to make their businesses work in Brattleboro. We need to start helping businesses not hindering them, and this is just another kick while many are down. Small businesses are the backbone of towns like ours. This 1% Local Option Sales Tax is not a way to retain or attract new ideas or businesses in our town.

Thanks for your consideration I look forward to supporting another way to fill our fiscal needs. 

Apologizes for loading peoples emails up more, I have a hard time with public speaking I guess, and this is easier.
Josh Steele
Vintage Steele LLC.
Owner – Operator – Builder


Comments | 4

  • I agree

    I’ve never liked jacking up sales tax to increase local revenue. It’s already expensive to shop in Brattleboro. The prices are naturally higher than online, and town parking is now very expensive, enough to make us limit the time we spend in downtown Brattleboro to an hour or less if we can help it. It’s not that I don’t love Brattleboro and want the Town to have more money. But getting it from residents in the form of another tax seems unfair, not just to the residents but to the businesses competing for our money.

    Prediction: It will be enacted.

  • My 2.02 cents....

    As someone who lived in Brattleboro, I never liked this local option tax. Businesses never wanted it. I didn’t want to pay extra just for shopping here, either. I’ve always been glad when the idea gets voted down. I think it has helped that it has never passed, and it is a big risk to assume that enacting a new tax will be beneficial.

    If I have $100 but the things I want total $120, I tend to cross some of the things of my list. Can’t afford them right now. Somethings got to go. I don’t go ask other people to help cover my costs and try to get the full $120 anyway.

    This tax seems like that. The budget is there for adjusting or cutting, or not, and if town folk want to save money they can go without, or ask others to help them pay.

    That gets me to being a recent outsider to Brattleboro. It’s really clear we already chip in to help cover Brattleboro costs. Parking and other local option taxes are considerations when I decide to go shopping for something now. Adding another 1% will be noticed.

    I’d like to keep supporting local stores I like, but (and I’m speaking very generally here) we’re all getting old and lazy and as Josh says, online options with free shipping to your door means you can get just about anything your heart desires at a click of a button.

    1% adds up – as potential revenue, and also for people on moderate or fixed incomes facing other rising costs in their budget.

    This seems like passing the buck, literally and figuratively, by the selectboard. Unwilling to make difficult cuts, another tax is proposed instead. And there is no guarantee that the funds will be used to reduce property taxes in any way. The revenue can easily be diverted to things the town needs or wants, or can even be given away to a private organization for promotion someday. Taxes will continue to rise.

    What would be better, in my view, would be more of an incentive program to shop downtown. Get a card that accumulates points or something with any purchase within the town. Work on making it fun to shop in real stores rather than putting up roadblocks.

  • 1% Local Option Sales Tax

    The old adage is true, and relevant; “Penney wise and pound foolish.”

  • Another Viewpoint

    I understand everyone’s reluctance for an additional sales tax in Brattleboro. However, as a resident, homeowner, and taxpayer in Brattleboro, we have limited options for funding very needed services and infrastructure repair in town. I work downtown; I live close enough to walk downtown – in fact, every day I walk to work. While I see some locals “shopping,” the sad reality is that we have little downtown where people can buy everyday items like sheets and towels. The big exclusions being Brown and Roberts, the pharmacy, and Sam’s. The rest are specialty stores that cater to large-ticket items (furniture and rugs), special occasions (jewelry and gifts), and restaurants. We have become a town that relies more and more on tourism to keep our businesses going.

    While I get the emotional argument about having to pay an additional $1 for every $100 I spend, I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off to have an additional revenue stream coming in to town, and one that is not funded on the backs of home-owners thru property taxes. What is the ultimate goal? People wanting to stay in homes they can afford so they can stay in town working and shopping, or keeping that extra $1 in $100, which is less than a cup of coffee in most places in town. As a homeowner with one apartment on a street where most of our homes are multi-family, with the owner living in the house also, when property taxes go up, we have to raise rents to help compensate. It’s simply not sustainable.

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