Dismayed by plan, positions
I am very dismayed by two of your recent editorials regarding the tax and funding choices going on in Montpelier. Particularly in the way you discuss break-open tickets as a shady operation within our state. You now seemingly dismiss taxing them as “an optional purchase that has little redeeming value.” You have about as much understanding of this charitable fund-raising revenue source as our governor does, and also some others in Montpelier.
How do you think 501c3s in our community get the bulk of their charitable funding?
Let me talk you through some quick math. The 10 percent tax that the governor is requesting is on the total sale of the box of tickets not on the net revenue of the box. So if a box of these break-open tickets is sold (average 2,500 tickets per box) and the net revenue after paying winners is $400 then the governor is taking $250 (10 percent of $2,500) of that and leaving the charity with only $150 so the result is a 60 percent tax. That is incredible.
At the Barre Elks, we give out every cent in charitable donations from break-open tickets that we take in. We do not use this money to put heating oil in the tank of the Lodge or to pay the GMP bill. We give it all to charity.
If the governor takes this money from these charities to pay for his own pet charities, please tell me who is going to take care of these programs in our own community? This is a very dangerous game the governor is playing with our cities and towns, epecially, when he makes comments like, “We say its $17 million and they say its $6 million ... let’s just tax it and find out.” Really? Or when the governor on VPR states that Vermont lottery tickets are taxed? What? I suppose you could call that a 100 percent tax right because it all goes to the state?
I know of no additional taxes when purchasing a lottery ticket, does anyone? The lottery commission argues on behalf of the governor that the “for profit” bars are not being true in turning over their proceeds to charities. I don’t know if they are or aren’t, but that seems like a regulation issue — not a tax issue.
I know you write editorials but that does not excuse The Times Argus from doing its homework on this issue. Bottom line is: Gov. Shumlin wants to tax charities, but that is just simply wrong. They understood this argument in the House of Representatives and that is why they did not support it. Now we need to send this message loud and clear to our senators. Do not tax charities.
The writer is ast Exalted Ruler of Barre Elks Lodge No. 1535.MORE IN Letters
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