To The Editor:
In the November 21 edition of The Valley Reporter a letter was submitted that contained inaccuracies about the proposed 1 percent Funding Local Opportunities (FLO) local option tax. So much of our current daily purchases are now exempt from sales tax; hence, will they be exempt from the LOT. Clothing, medicine, food, home heating fuel and literally dozens of other daily living purchases are exempt from the LOT. Residents will incur an average cost of 50 cents per person per week. A family living at the state-defined poverty level will incur less than $5 per year in additional cost. Our Valley guests and part-time residents will pay 88 percent of the 1 percent tax.
The phrase “rural people want to take care of themselves” is wishful thinking. Our Valley desperately needs affordable housing alternatives to attract young families and workers to live here, and without those solutions we will continue to be the oldest area in Vermont (Vermont is the second oldest state in the nation). Drive through parts of upstate NY and observe the Adirondacks to fully appreciate what happens when population ages and young people go elsewhere to find work and raise their families. To say our restaurants, inns and shops don’t want more business is ill-informed.
Community engagement in the Mad River Valley through workshops and studies over the last four and more years have clearly indicated that our Valley businesses want more business, not less. The last thing they want is more downtime! Many of our Valley businesses barely survive those downtimes now. And for the employees of these businesses to say they don’t want year-round income to support their families is just wrong. Yes, it is expensive to live here, but without year-round good jobs it becomes impossible to live here and raise a young family.