Businesses react to tax proposals - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Businesses react to tax proposals

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In an 8 to 3 vote in the House Ways and Means committee Friday, members approved a hefty tax package expected to bring in more than $25-million in Fiscal Year 2014.  But it's not sitting well for many in the industries that would hit by the taxes.  

"People come in saying all the time, 'I'm so happy there's no sales tax.' So it will change the dynamic of Church Street in general," said Melissa Loughlin with ECCO Clothing.

Items at the already pricey high end clothing shop would cost even more to the consumer.  Under the House bill, clothing valued over $110 will no longer be tax exempt. Neither will candy, bottled water, dietary supplements, or soft drinks. ECCO employees worry adding the taxes could mean taking away some business.  "I think its a huge decision factor for those people who come here from Montreal especially, so I think it will impact our sales tremendously," Loughlin said.

Under the bill, cigarettes would also be taxed an additional 50 cents, bringing that tax to over $2.60 per pack. The tax on smokeless tobacco products would also go up.  Though expected to bring in $6 million, some worry that taxing is getting to be too much. "The people it affects the most are the people who can afford it the least -- I would say which are the customers," said    Sage Del Rios with Garcia's Smoke Shop in Burlington.

The bill also includes a one year increase on the meals tax of an additional half percent -- which will bring in over $4 million dollars. It also caps tax deductions and increases income taxes for the state's top earners.

"It's just not the right time. I can see if everything was going good, but I think it's going to push a lot of families over the edge -- where they're going to need more assistance and it's going to end up costing the state more in the long run," said Derek Chace of Charlotte.

While many are upset about the number of taxes, some agree the revenue -- which is still not enough to meet the all of the governor's proposals -- is needed. "I can see both sides of it. Obviously these things are great for the state and the people of the state but obviously it's going to make some things harder for people," said Colin Patrick McIntosh of Burlington.

Lawmakers admit the bill isn't perfect. It still has to be voted on by both the House and Senate -- and then the Governor -- who has said he strongly disagrees with the broad-based tax plan.

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