9-28-16 – Sales Tax on Services Will Hit Elderly Hardest

by Rob Roper

A person commenting on a left-wing blog regarding gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter’s proposal to expand Vermont’s A crying elderly woman covering her facesales tax to services noted the disproportionate impact that doing so would have on older Vermonters. “It’s us old folks who would be hit hardest by a service tax, because there are so many things we can no longer do for ourselves: plow snow, mow grass, haul and lift big things, etc. Given the aging of Vermont’s population and its overall income profile, that would be a very regressive tax.” It’s a good point!

Older folks have spent their lives accumulating (and paying the sales tax on) goods. Generally speaking, they are less likely to need to buy furniture, pots and pans, Christmas decorations, etc. They’ve got that stuff, and in many cases, if my family is any example, have so much they are trying to get rid of it. So, lowering the overall sales and use tax by one or two percentage points from 6% to 5% or 4%, which “expanding the base” would allow, would not be of much benefit for seniors.

However, increasing the tax on services like snow removal, lawn care, house cleaning, taxis, home repair, real estate services if you’re selling a home to help finance retirement, etc. from 0% to 4% or 5% would have a significant, negative impact for people who rely on these kinds of things for their daily existence. Particularly those living on a fixed income.

This is yet another reason why expanding Vermont’s sales tax to cover services is a bad idea where the costs far outweigh the benefits. The politicians who have been pushing this idea, such a Speaker of the House, Shap Smith (D-Morristown), Senate Finance Committee chair, Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), and now gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter really need to step back and take a look at how their proposals will impact our economy and our people.

Though Smith is not returning to the House, Ashe is a potential candidate for Senate President Pro Tem and Minter is running for Governor. If the leader of the House, the leader of the Senate, and the Governor are all supporters of this scheme, odds are it’s going to become law.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenneth Tobin September 28, 2016 at 8:01 pm

As an 83 year old I find this tax proposal by Minter to be very regressive,and ont that would hit the elderly retired population very hard.

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Roger Joslin September 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm

It is so important for Vermonters to understand that the democrats have no connection to reality for most Vermonters. We need to vote in sensible republicans that understand that Vermont is in a crucial stage of unbalance that will ruin this state forever.

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Ed Kuban October 1, 2016 at 12:48 am

A tax on services is about an ignorant idea as they come. IF that tax is implemented people that have a service performed should only pay for that service and not the tax. Then let the state try to collect the tax. The state will end up spending many times over the tax owed trying to collect.

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Jim Bulmer October 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

This is just one more of Dem schemes which seems to be great when first proposed, but on furthrr review, doesn’t make any sense. Will this stop them??? No way, don’t bather me with facts, my mind’s made up. All the more reason to nip this stupid idea in the bud and vote these clowns out of office. Further, as I have stated numerous times, what’s to prevent these same people if they remain in power from RAISING the reduced sales tax BACK to 6% when they run out of money to fund yet another dumb project ???

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Pat Chace October 4, 2016 at 1:40 am

What a disastrous idea, many Seniors are choosing between food, heat, and medicine now…
Why don’t you tax entertainment, cigarettes, liquor, things people can chose to do or not do..
In a bad winter your going to tax a senior widow or widower so that they can’t afford to get shoveled out…or get a needed repair…shame on you…

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Pam October 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm

As a 75 year old retiree living in VT I can agree with this statement. I am already being almost taxed out of my house. I do have someone help me clean, cut grass and shovel snow although some services are done for free for a kind of barter. We do not need more taxes on the middle and poor classes.

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