Brattleboro adopts new local tax

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(Host) The town of Brattleboro has adopted a one percent local tax on rooms, meals and alcoholic drinks.

The decision was made last night at a special Representative Town Meeting. Brattleboro is the only Vermont municipality with a representative assembly of elected delegates from districts around town.

Last night it became the fifth town in the state to impose a local option tax. The 1% surcharge is in addition to the state’s 9% tax on rooms, meals and alcohol.

The local option tax was authorized by the Legislature when it created Act 60. It was meant to provide extra revenue for the towns most adversely impacted by the statewide education property tax.

Opponents in Brattleboro say the tax unfairly singles out restaurant and hotel owners. But Selectman Dick DeGray said the impact would be minimal.

(DeGray) “Just to put it in perspective, if you went out to dinner and it cost you $25 it’s an extra 25 cents on your bill. And a hundred dollars, it’s a dollar. I do not believe in my heart of hearts that that is going to deter people or drive them to New Hampshire. We need another source of revenue other than the tax payer. We talk about it all the time. Here is an option.”

(Host) Supporters say the tax will spread the cost of town services to tourists and people who work in Brattleboro but pay taxes elsewhere.

The tax is expected to generate about $250,000 annually.

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