Whose 1 percent is it, anyway?

Dear Editor,

In the wake of the recent election it has come to my attention that a certain prominent member of the community has made some proprietary statements to the Killington Pico Areas Association (KPAA) concerning the 1 percent options tax. This person stated the tax is raised by the businesses and infers because the original article voted on dedicated the proceeds to “economic development” that somehow the town owes it to the KPAA, its members, and the business community. Further he states we should not be paying off the Green Mountain National Golf Course (GMNGC) debt with that money.

First and foremost, the town voted to put the 1 percent option tax revenue into the General Fund because of the enormous real estate tax burden the GMNGC debt would have put onto property owners. At the time we had somewhere in the vicinity of $2.5 million in short term debt on the town’s books which was incurred to pay off past GMNGC bond payments, never mind the $3 million or so still outstanding on the bond.

Secondly, the town refinanced the short term debt incurring close to another million dollars in fees and interest.

Third, and finally, GMNGC was the result of the so called Economic Recovery Act of 1996, an effort at economic development to help that same business community. It was supposed to be a self-financed program. Well that did not happen and it fell into the taxpayers lap as the town guaranteed the bond! So now we are paying off an economic development project with economic development money which is the way it should be.

So for a prominent member of the business community, who has profited from whatever stimulus GMNGC provided to our local economy, to say that we should not be paying of the GMNGC debt with money supposedly dedicated to economic development is misguided at best and disingenuous at worst.

Here’s a quote from an email sent to what looks to be KPAA executive committee members, “First the 1% tax is raised by the businesses of the town. The original intent of the tax was designed to market and develop our resort area. Not to pay debt on a golf course that competes with our largest contributor, Killington Resort.”

The businesses do not “raise” this money, they collect it from their patrons under the force of law.

Vito Rasenas, Killington

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