To The Editor:
I’d like to take this opportunity to chime in on the local option tax (LOT) debate. First of all, to respond to the Peals’ interview with Tim Seniff on Mad River Valley TV, I’d like to say that Waitsfield voting to change its town charter does not guarantee a vote to pass the LOT; those votes are unrelated. With regard to the LOT itself, the point is to help the businesses and economies in our Valley towns, not hurt the residents. How many of us drive to Williston and Colchester on a regular basis to Costco and the big box stores to save money? When we do that, we are not only paying for the gas and wear and tear on our cars, but we are paying a 1 percent local option tax on every taxable item we buy!
We know we have an affordable housing problem, a lack of public transportation issue and a serious labor force problem. The money raised from a 1 percent tax could be used to address these issues. It could also be used to lower our tax burden by reducing each town’s contribution to the Mad River Valley Recreation District. Reducing our property tax will have a bigger, better effect on our residents’ pocketbooks than the impact they will feel from a 1 percent sales tax on those items which are taxable.
I am very impressed by the work that the subcommittee has done in researching the pros and cons in the many towns that do have the LOT in place. I also think that our Valley towns need to work together more as we all have different attributes and we all need each other. Unifying the school district is a good beginning and the LOT would continue that process.