"When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out." - Erma Bombeck

User login

Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

Find iBrattleboro on:

 Twitter YouTube

Authentically Local

Search the Archives

Ye Olde iBrattleboro Archive

Use the pulldown to choose desired number of results.

 

Search the first decade
of iBrattleboro archives
at Archive-It.org
Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Items to Cost More if 1% Local Option Tax Passes


From the Vermont Department of Taxes, a list of some of the items that qualify for the 1% local option tax. 

Clothing

  • Belt buckles sold separately
  • Costume masks sold separately
  • Patches and emblems sold separately
  • Sewing equipment and supplies including knitting needles, patterns, pins, scissors, sewing machines, sewing needles, tape measures and thimbles.
  • Sewing materials such as buttons, fabric, lace, thread, yarn, and zippers
  • Briefcases
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair notions such as barrettes, bows, and nets
  • Handbags
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Jewelry
  • Sunglasses, nonprescription
  • Umbrellas
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Wigs and hairpieces

Protective Equipment 

  • Breathing masks
  • Clean room apparel & equipment
  • Ear & hearing protectors
  • Face shields
  • Hardhats
  • Helmets
  • Paint or dust respirators
  • Protective gloves
  • Safety belts
  • Safety glasses & goggles
  • Tool belts
  • Welders’ gloves and masks

Sports and Recreation Equipment 

  • Ballet and tap shoes
  • Cleated or spiked athletic shoes
  • Gloves (baseball, boxing, bowling, hockey, golf)
  • Goggles
  • Hand and elbow guards
  • Life preservers and vests
  • Mouth guards
  • Roller and ice skates
  • Shin guards
  • Shoulder pads
  • Ski boots
  • Waders
  • Wetsuits & fins

Grooming and Hygiene 

  • Soap
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Antiperspirants
  • Suntan lotion and sunscreen

Medical supplies, equipment  

  • Body massage appliances
  • Therapeutic foot baths
  • Room humidifiers
  • Air conditioners
  • Baby and bath scales
  • Medic alert bracelets
  • Hot tubs
»

Comments | 17

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
 #

Can't anticipate any problems with this...

… a 1% increase for hygiene and safety items in Brattleboro.

The proper way to pay for Police and Fire renovations is through property taxes. Second best would be a fee for second and third homes, or multiple vehicles.

I hope my representatives vote this down, or at least amend this to have a sunset date/trigger.

 
 #

Body?

Body massage appliances?
Chris -- what did you make of that?

 
 #

Sometimes I really wonder if

Sometimes I really wonder if people are aware of just how little 1% is that such a big deal is made of this....

 
 #

1% local option tax

The point of my very recent post is to show that 1% does matter even though logic would dictate that it should not.

 
 #

To be blunt, sales tax is the

To be blunt, sales tax is the last thing in a long line of variables considered when people shop. It's the footnote on the receipt that's barely an afterthought. Any person who would rather waste money on gas to drive to someplace to avoid sales tax has a fundamental lack of understanding of where all their money is going. And I have yet to meet any tourist who decides their vacation destination based on what the local tax rate is. Thus it blows my mind that so many people are up in arms over a penny on the dollar increase.

 
 #

I have to agree with you

I will say that I think you are right about the afterthought part of sales tax, and not only would I never pay the gas money to drive elsewhere, I wouldn't waste the time to, my time is valuable (to me at least) and I will still shop downtown regardless of a tax. Some people might not though, if for no other reason then to prove a point. That will be sad.

 
 #

1% of what?

The town is using a rough figure of $10,000,000 in taxable sales here in Brattleboro. One percent of that is roughly $100,000. The State of Vermont takes about a third of that for 'administering the tax' leaving us with $650,000 each year to put toward town expenses.

Here are my questions:

1) Where does the 10 million dollar sales figure come from? What items are on THAT list? This will help to answer the next question:

2) Out of whose pockets are those $100,000 dollars coming? Our pockets? Tourist pockets?

3) If you buy a $1000 computer, bicycle or sofa in town you are now paying $60 in sales tax. If that goes to $70 dollars… at what point do people go to Keene and use the sales tax to buy dinner out?

Everyone should know that the new Vermont tax form requires a signature confirming that filers have paid all of their sales and use taxes on items purchased out of state and through the internet. My accountant says that the signature is a legally binding declaration. Does everybody pay all of these taxes? I guess the sales and use tax would only be 6% on items purchased online or across the river. The 1% would only be added to items purchased directly from a Brattleboro merchant.

Do our local businesses really need this added drag on sales? Taxes on a $200,000 home will be going up about $4 a week due to the fire and police upgrades. One fewer video rental or bagel a week seems a small price to pay for these much needed upgrades to our safety infrastructure.

Would love to hear more opinions on this as I am a town meeting rep.

Andy Davis

 
 #

1% Local Option Tax

I hope that the Reps will vote this down. Actually, I think they are being asked to vote on the wrong question. The problem as I see it is that we are building something we can't afford and scrambling for a way to come up with the money that will take some of the sting out of the increase in property taxes. Here are my reasons for opposing the local option tax.

1. It's regressive. The property tax isn't the most progressive tax, but it's more progressive than a sales tax.

2. Local businesses already have to compete with no-sales-tax NH. Pushing prices higher risks sending more folks to NH to shop, especially for large ticket items for which the added tax will be noticeable. The local economy won't thrive just by telling people to shop locally. Shopping locally has to be affordable.

3. It's a short-term band-aid on a larger problem. We should be addressing that problem, which is the cost of the proposed fire and police station project. Yes, we've sunk some money into it already, but it would be more prudent to re-evaluate NOW, before we commit even more money to it. I can't believe that it is impossible to scale back the renovations to what the town can actually afford. Ground has not been broken. Change is possible if there is the will.

4. If sales decline due to the new tax, so do the revenues that come to the town. Then how do we make up the difference between projected and actual revenues? This is not a sustainable way of funding town expenditures.

 
 #

On government

If government is muted and muffled
People are cool and refreshed.
If government investigates and intrudes,
People are worn down and hopeless.

Bad fortune rests on good fortune.
Good luck hides within bad luck.

Who know how it will end?

-Lao Tzu (Addiss and Lombardo translation)

 
 #

Tax away fellas

Hey what's a little 1% anyways? But of course a few years past and we need to add another %, all of a sudden years down the road a monster is created and you're taxing @ 10%, and you wonder how we got here. Just a bagel, right, soon it will be a steak! Stop taxing the symptom and work for an accountable Government with sustainable outcomes that doesn't just throw money from others at problems! -- or enjoys playing the divisive class warfare card!

 
 #

1% local option tax

I KNOW THIS IS A LOT TO READ, BUT IT MIGHT HELP EVERYONE UNDERSTAND WHY A 1% SALES TAX INCREASE WILL BE HARMFUL

Bob Dylan's words are timeless...
Adapting his lyrics from “Positively 4th Street”, renaming it “Positively Main Street”, and applying them to the proposed 1% local option tax, I'd say…..
I wish that for just one time you could stand behind my desk and just for that one moment I could be you. Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand behind my desk - You'd know what a drag the tax option is to me.

If that wish became reality, I can guarantee that the 1% local sales tax option would be dead, in fact, it would never have been a consideration in the first place. But that's a pipe dream and I'm faced with pleading my case against it for a third time. The public as well as the Town meeting reps have been presented (ad nauseam) with all the facts documenting the flight of revenue from Brattleboro due to past sales tax increases. Yet somehow those statistics are ignored or supplanted with the notion that our customers are mostly tourists who don't care about paying sales tax. FACT: The 05301 zip code represents the majority of Brattleboro’s customers and guess what? A 1% SALES TAX INCREASE MATTERS. NO ONE LIKES PAYING TAXES, including tourists!

Ponder this: Brown & Roberts' best weekend of sales EVER was Vermont's last sales tax holiday. It was better than any Christmas or store wide sale in their 40+ year history. Customers flocked to the store to purchase items just to avoid paying sales tax. Those same items could have been purchased during one of their regular sale's events and the savings would have been greater than avoiding the sales tax. Paul Putnam and I often chuckle over the fact that customers vigorously respond to a 6% sales tax holiday, yet barely shop during a store wide 10% off sale. How, when and why consumers make their purchases is not predictable and often irrational.

We all know the challenges of our proximity to Keene and Hinsdale. The New Hampshire Retail Association's new marketing logo says it all. The logo is a shopping bag with "Tax-Free Shopping 365 Days A Year" written on it. Obviously it reinforces their competitive edge on the sales tax issue, but the real reason for the new logo and marketing campaign is competition from internet sales. Nationally, "brick and mortar" stores are losing tremendous amounts of business to virtual stores and states are losing a lot of sales tax revenue. (Only five states have no sales tax, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon). Our shops have become showrooms where consumers use our investment in merchandise plus our staff's time and knowledge to research items they intend to purchase on line, where store hours, inclement weather and parking tickets aren’t issues AND they pay no sales tax. Plus products are delivered to their doors, often without shipping charges. Interestingly, consumers can be fooled into believing their on-line or box store purchases are great deals. They don’t know that manufacturers make products for large retailers and internet companies that look the same as the ones in our stores, but have been altered to meet the price demands of these companies. This is usually accomplished by cutting corners and substituting lower quality materials. It looks the same, but it’s not.

Just because the Vermont legislature gave towns an easy tool to use doesn't mean it is right for Brattleboro. Every business in town shares the property tax burden with homeowners through rent increases or in my case, an increase in property taxes on my commercial building. It's just plain unfair to place an ADDITIONAL burden on those who earn (or try to earn) a living in Brattleboro selling non-sales tax exempt products. Everything has its “tipping point” and I fear increasing the sales tax could become one for our retail community. 1% should not make a difference, but it could easily become the nail in the coffin for stores fighting to survive in this post-recession economy. With the Brooks House still vacant, and the reality that Entergy will safestor Yankee, now is not the time to institute the local option tax. FROM ANOTHER DYLAN TUNE: (altered, of course)

Yes, my guard stood hard when sales tax threats Too noble to neglect Deceive you into thinking I have nothing to protect……
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.
Donna Simons

 
 #

Why is this being proposed

When discussing the pros and cons of the 1% sales tax increase, let's all keep in mind why this was proposed. And it was proposed because of a $14 million police/fire building project that is not affordable at this time. As was pointed out earlier in this thread, the discussion really should be about that project and the reps really should be rethinking and reconsidering moving ahead on a project that seems to need this band-aid tax applied to it to make it seem more palatable. And that is all this tax would be is a bandaid. The bigger issue is the cost of that project to the town and it's going to cost in many ways.

I see in the Reformer today that the Selectboard wants to go to the state to discuss tax issues. Part of that conversation should also be expenditures on projects that are simply not affordable. The tax issues are directly related to expenditures and it's one thing to be having problems because of on-going costs, it's quite another to be having additional problems because of overspending and building things because you "want" them.

While the buildings being used now might not be the most desirable, perhaps they are all we can afford right now. If it weren't for that project would we even be having a discussion about a 1% tax. Probably not as the tax was proposed as a means to put a bandaid on the costs of the project. And that should be forefront in all these discussions.

I'm hoping the town reps have a really substantive discussion about this tax that includes a substantive relook at the project that caused the tax to be proposed in the first place.

 
 #

Thank you

I just want to take a moment to say that although we stand on different sides of the fence on this discussion, I really like the way you stated your arguement in this post!

 
 #

If you tax them they will spend.

This really is comical. First of all to say that people won't shop elsewhere is ludicrous. Just simply take a look at what happens when the town raises water and sewer rates, aka TAX, thinking they will generate more revenue. That's right,Steve Barrett ends up going before the selectboard stating that projected usage has dropped and there wasn't as much revenue coming in.
So let me get this straight. The town will impose a 1% sales tax to pay for the police and fire project and the day that it's finished and paid for the 1% tax goes away?

RRRRRiiiigggghhhhhttt.

 
 #

a modest proposal

You would think that I91 would be a major economic engine for the east side of Vermont. What I see is a highway that carries people to Lebanon NH, Walpole NH, Chesterfield and Keene NH. Then take a look at White River Junction, Bellows Falls and Brattleboro. We have problem here. New Hampshire is certainly not 'tax-free'. They do collect taxes in NH. However they choose to collect them in such a way that neighboring states send them customers who prefer to support New Hampshire business taxes over VT and Massachusetts sales taxes.

If the State of Vermont would allow businesses in the five counties along the Connecticut River to deliver one penny of the 6% VT sales tax to their local municipality and send the other 5 pennies to Montpelier then we would be building an incentive for local people to stay in Vermont and shop local. Even if this was only allowed in the economic hubs along the river it would be a step in the right direction.

People in Chittendon County could care less about a state sales tax. Who is going to swim across Lake Champlain to buy things while paying a New York sales tax? Having business along the Connecticut River funding local and state projects with an increasing sales tax is INSANE. Remember that insanity can be defined as doing the same wrong thing over and over again while expecting a better result each time.

Building the business climate along the river might even result in more tax revenue in the long run. Taxing a shrinking pie is CRAZY. Please try to convince me that the 1% local option is a rational response.

 
 #

Question

I may weigh in on this more later, but now looking for a quick answer to a question (can't get what I need via Google): Does VT turn back a proportion of the 6% state sales tax to the town in which the tax was collected? If so, what's the turnback share?

 
 #

1% Tax is Tied to the $14million police/fire project

Again I would like to see those who are debating the 1% sales tax to keep in mind that the only reason this tax has been proposed is to generate revenues to reduce the cost of the $14 million proposed police/fire station project. It's an attempt to generate money yearly to reduce the cost to property owners. Of course the actual revenue amount is projected and in my opinion is going to make a neglible dent in the cost.

If it weren't for that project this tax wouldn't be a subject of discussion. I assume that any money collected will be dedicated to paying down the loan or certainly should be as that is why the tax was proposed in the first place.

 

iBrattleboro Poll

Please pass me more

Choices