Tuesday, House to consider electric bike tax change, closure plan for biomass plant, first responder wellness, and sale of unpasteurized milk
By Guy Page
Exempting electric bikes from the vehicular ‘purchase and use’ tax, expanding the sale of unpasteurized milk, creating another state commission, and requiring an economic impact study of closing the Ryegate biomass power plant are among the bills to be taken up Tuesday by the Vermont House of Representatives.
The House first will consider S66, treating electric bikes as bicycles for tax purposes. Instead of taxing them as cars or motorcycles under the ‘purchase and use’ tax, relatively low-powered electric bikes would be taxed under the general sales tax. Both taxes are currently six percent.
A proposed expansion of the sales tax to services (lawyers, trash disposal, tuition, etc.) would cut the sales tax to 3.6%. Supporters of purchases of electric bikes – an alternative to internal-combustion transportation – want to ensure they benefit from any ensuing tax decrease.
Then the House will take up proposed Senate changes to H218, expanding the sale of unpasteurized milk to farmers’ markets and via CSA.
S1, providing subsidies to the 20 MW Ryegate biomass power plant, will appear before the House with an amendment seeking a more detailed economic impact study (to be paid for by the plant) of how the plant’s closure would affect employment and the forestry industry.
S42 would establish the Emergency Service Provider Wellness Commission. This appointed body would study and provide wellness recommendations for all emergency service providers, including firefighters, EMT’s, paramedics, police officers, dispatchers, and corrections officers. The bill addresses wellness in general but also includes a specific diversity clause – “consider the diversity of emergency service providers on the basis of gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability status, and the unique needs that emergency service providers who have experienced trauma may have as a result of their identity status.”