To The Editor:

Extort: To obtain from another by intimidation.

Extortion: An excessive or exorbitant charge.

Local Option Tax (LOT): A tax towns are allowed to levy upon themselves providing they agree to pay to the Vermont Department of Taxes a fee amounting to 30 percent of the funds raised by their LOT.

What does this exorbitant state grab of locally raised tax dollars sound like to you?

To me it sounds like a classic example of extortion. “If you don’t agree to pay the state 30 percent of the funds you raise you don’t get to have an LOT.”

Remember, an LOT is a local tax that people impose upon themselves. An LOT is not a state-mandated tax. Question: Does the state have the constitutional right to engage in extortion? Perhaps this is a question that a lawyer familiar with the Vermont Constitution would like to answer.

It’s time for the Vermont Department of Taxes to rescind its grab of an exorbitant amount of the funds raised by a town’s LOT.

Let’s instruct our local state representative and senators to immediately assume a proactive stance on eliminating this questionable state grab of our money. We have too much good work that needs to be done in the Mad River Valley to allow $300,000 per year to end up in the state’s coffers in lieu of our own.

If we eventually decide to impose an LOT upon ourselves, $1 million coming our way each year to do good work in the Mad River Valley sounds a heck of a lot better than $700,000, don’t you think?

Damon Reed

Warren, Vermont