By Guy Page
March 11, 2020 – The House Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to discuss a sales tax on candy tomorrow morning, according to its weekly agenda.
According to a member of the committee, the proposed tax will be six percent, the same as the general sales tax. At present, candy is considered a grocery food and as such is exempt from Vermont sales taxation. The proposed tax reportedly would continue to exempt candy which includes flour.
According to a 2018 USA Today report, The most popular candies in Vermont are Milky Way, Skittles, and M&M’s. Vermont’s “sugar industry economic output” is $226 million, or 20th lowest in the nation. Sugar consumption among Vermont children 14 and under is 15.5% of total, the lowest in the nation. There are about 11.5 candy and chocolate shops per 100,000 people.
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A disagreement between Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Rep. Curt McCormack (D-Burlington) over enforcing the city and state idling laws erupted into an open argument in the State House yesterday.
Burlington passed an anti-idling ordinance in 1990 and the State of Vermont passed an anti-idling law in 2013. McCormack, chair of the House Transportation Committee, is an influential proponent of carbon emissions reduction. Neither city or state prohibitions have ever been enforced, a situation McCormack would like to modify.
Interviewed today by the Vermont Daily Chronicle, McCormack said he is not asking for police to cite or issue fines to operators of idling cars. He said he has repeatedly asked Mayor Weinberger, in person and by email, to direct city police who happen to be walking by an idling car to tap on the window and give operators a friendly reminder that they are in violation of the city ordinance. The mayor has not been receptive, McCormack said.
Around noon yesterday, this reporter saw the two men standing in the Card Room – idling, as it were, at a major intersection of State House foot traffic – when Weinberger said to McCormack in a moderately-raised voice, “You are so out of touch with what’s happening” for bringing up idling “with all that’s going on.” A moment later Weinberger abruptly turned his back and left the room. To his retreating back McCormack responded in a raised voice, “that’s great – for asking people to obey the law?”
Weinberger, a Democrat, did not itemize what he meant by “with all that’s going on,” leaving observers free to wonder if he is more concerned with the city’s public health response to the coronavirus, his police department’s well-publicized morale issues, or the newly Progressive City Counci’s heightened focus on city police conduct.
The mayor has not returned this reporter’s phone call or email sent yesterday.