Commentary

McClaughry: George Till, salesman for the Service Tax

By John McClaughry

A few days ago I received a copy of an email to a constituent from Rep. George Till, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Committee is apparently discussing which if any of the recommendations of the Vermont Tax Structure Commission to enact.

           

One of that Commission’s recommendations is to broaden the sales tax base by applying the tax rate to services other than health care. That, the Commissions says, would allow the sales tax rate to drop from the present six percent to down around four percent. 

In his May 4 email Rep. Till (Democrat from Underhill) writes: “The whole point of this proposal [to broaden the base of the sales tax] is to lower the rate of the completely regressive sales tax by expanding sales tax to things like portfolio management, investment advice, tax preparation services, things that average Vermonters don’t use.”

 I think Rep. Till would be startled to learn that quite a few of his average constituents use tax preparation services and investment advice, and almost all of them use  plumbers, electricians, lawn mowers, auto mechanics, driveway plowers, computer techies, tailors, accountants, taxi drivers, lawyers, tutors, music teachers, delivery drivers, loggers, excavators, barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists, day care operators, babysitters, gravediggers, and as many as 140 more service occupations.

 If you’re ready to pay taxes on those services, Rep. George Till is your voice in Montpelier.

The author is the founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Categories: Commentary

6 replies »

  1. SERVICE TAXES are another means for the MONEY GOONS in MONTPECULIAR to gain more of our $$$ that they will be able to piss into the wind with.

  2. Obviously we wll use many of the service noted; however, if broadening the things that are taxed into categories that many working Vermonters don’t use as much (and if the tax rate really comes down), then it should be a net benefit to most working class Vermonters in terms of the total dollars in tax paid. You’d have to see the actual projections though to know.

  3. Unfortunately, John, forty percent of Vermont’s workforce is employed in the tax subsidized education, healthcare and government sectors. Mr. Till has mouths to feed – and votes to garnish.

  4. Should this recommendation get legs in the Ways and Means committee, the impact to the entire state will be negative- no matter what the politicians tell us- Any reduction in the tax rate would be short lived. the department of taxes would require a large increase in clerical and enforcement personnel, as this idea makes every business a tax collector for the state. Vermonter’s will hire out of state contractors for every service they can- especially those on the eastern side of the state.
    Remember the letters sent out several years ago threatening enforcement action on Vermont
    citizens whom were presumed to be guilty of sales tax evasion? I’d bet that future mailings would be bills, “estimated” by the tax department, demanding immediate payment with penalties and interest added- and a long, expensive appeals process.
    Best not to let the legislature ponder this proposal, It’ll be approved quicker than a legislative pay increase.

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