The session has entered its final weeks and as we consider (and sometimes reconsider) bills that directly impact you and your lives. Therefore, I and many of my colleagues, have redoubled our efforts to remain vigilant. I am committed to ensuring that your voice for a more affordable Vermont remains heard — a Vermont that is friendly towards businesses and job-creation, and for a state government that is able to do more with less and constantly seeks ways to swiftly return Vermont to its position as the premier place to work, raise a family and retire.
Vigilance is required. In addition to mandating paid leave on every Vermont business, just this past week both the House and Senate added even more last minute taxes to the butcher’s bill as we race to a mid-may end of session — taxes on everyday products like soda, bottled water and television and internet to more obscure products like e-cigarettes. In my opinion, these taxes are not only a result of Montpelier’s failure to make the necessary (and difficult) cuts to balance the budget but they are also just short-sighted and bad for business statewide.
As Forbes Magazine reported last week: “New Hampshire goes without a retail sales tax while Vermont has a tax of 6 percent. New Hampshire taxes cigarettes at $1.78 per pack while Vermont taxes them almost a dollar more, at $2.75. New Hampshire has state-run liquor stores, but the prices are set so low that the taxes are virtually zero, whereas Vermont taxes liquor at $7.68 per gallon.
These things all add up, and as a result, even though I-91 runs up the Vermont side of the Connecticut River, all the retail opens up on the New Hampshire side. Over time, it hasn’t just been liquor and cigarette stores either. Since the late 1950s, overall per capita sales in border counties in New Hampshire have tripled, while per capita sales in border counties in Vermont have stayed the same.”
Vermont is at an historic cross-roads. Our state will need to decide whether we will continue to squeeze our business community further out of existence or will realize, once again, that prosperity, health and hope lies best in a persons’ own two hands… and that a climate that is friendly to free-market job growth and business is our best way towards preserving a Vermont that we all love to call home.
I know which side I’m on — and through my discussions with so many of you I’m confident where our district stands as well. Closing out this session, I will be working hard to put forth idea to make the argument that lower taxes, job creation and less government regulation.
You can count on me,
Job Tate, State Representative Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington, Mendon