Case not made for Avon use tax |

Case not made for Avon use tax

Don Rogers

The use tax would charge builders 4 percent on construction material bought out of town. Such materials bought in town would be exempt from the tax, since the town sales tax would already cover things.

Proponents argue that the builders should already be paying the same amount under a state rule that has proven nearly impossible to enforce, and that this is just closing a loophole with a revenue source that’s much easier to administer.

It’s attractive as a means of making town builders help pay for the growth they bring to the rapidly swelling town, but the intended use for the tax doesn’t quite fit the imagery. What, pray tell, does free bus service have to do with growth?

The council seems to be reaching for revenue, any revenue, while in the throes of post-9/11 shortfall of half a million or so dollars and struggling to balance next year’s balance, which they appear to have managed.

Our sense is that the builder’s tax hasn’t been fully thought out, and while it’s always nice to tap a source that leaves a relative few shrieking, we’re just not convinced it’s truly needed.

Maybe the buses shouldn’t run for free, if the ridership isn’t quite there or the lodges that say they need free buses aren’t quite willing to fund the service. Maybe a lodging assessment is the better way to go, along with trimming services. The town does not seem to have quite adjusted from the county ending its contract with Avon for county bus services.

We’ll note that some 80 percent of home-rule municipalities like Avon already have this tax in place. “Follow the herd” isn’t much of an argument, though, and neither is rhetoric about paying for growth while intending to use the revenue not on growth, but on shuttling tourists about.

We don’t find that the case has been made to convince the voters that this is truly needed. We suggest this one go back to the drawing board with a “no” vote.

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