News Releases

July 14, 2008

Economy Gets a Boost, Vermonters Get a Break

Gov Says Sales Tax Holiday is ‘Tremendous Success’

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas today said the sales tax holiday he pushed through the Legislature is giving Vermont’s economy a boost and Vermonters a much-needed break from high costs.

The Governor said by all accounts the weekend has been a tremendous success. “This sales tax holiday provided an opportunity for Vermonters, and visitors, to save some much needed cash, help our local businesses and encourage economic growth,” Douglas said. “Millions of dollars in sales and other economic activity have been generated by taking the simple, commonsense step of suspending the sales tax. It has been a tremendous success.”

Retailers all around Vermont are reporting record-setting sales and the state even had to open the Georgia Southbound Information Center early yesterday to accommodate a surge of shoppers coming from Canada. “Every Canadian shopper represents new money being infused into our local economies,” the Governor said. “In addition to purchasing products from our local shops, they dine at our restaurants, spend the night at our hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts and make plans to return.”

Governor Douglas noted that many retailers offered additional discounts that, combined with the sales tax exemption, made needed products accessible to Vermonters during difficult economic times. “Vermont’s retailers have been excellent partners in this effort and contributed significantly to its success,” he added.

Included in the Governor’s Economic Growth Initiative, the sales tax holiday was July 12 and 13 and exempted all non-business purchases of property costing $2,000 or less from state sales tax except automobiles and vehicles. Customers could purchase multiple items on one invoice totaling more than $2,000 and still receive the exemption if the selling price of each item is $2,000 or less.

The Governor reminded Vermonters that from July 14th through 18th, the sale tax holiday is extended on Energy Star-rated appliances costing $2,000 or less. “This a great opportunity to replace that old, inefficient clothes washer or other appliances with a new ENERGY STAR model that can help lower your electricity costs and save more money over the long run,” Douglas said. “In addition to the sales tax savings and discounts being provided by individual stores, Efficiency Vermont is continuing its offer of cash rebates from $25 to $50 on selected ENERGY STAR appliances.”

Efficiency Vermont is the state’s provider of efficiency services and is currently operated by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), an independent non-profit organization under contract to the Vermont Public Service Board. “Purchasing an ENERGY STAR ™ appliance helps Vermonters lowers their energy costs,” said Scott Johnstone, executive director of VEIC. “Everybody benefits from that.”

“Not only do consumers get their electric bills lowered, but reducing demand means utilities don’t need to purchase as much power,” Johnstone said. “That helps reduce not only everyone’s future electricity bills but emissions as well.”

ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S ECONOMIC GROWTH INITIATIVE

On April 19, Governor Jim Douglas presented a 15-point economic package to encourage growth, create jobs and help Vermont emerge from the current national economic challenge with a stronger and more resilient economy. After an unenthusiastic reception, and steady insistence from the Governor, the leadership of the supermajority in the Legislature eventually warmed to Douglas’ plan and passed, with a few modifications, a majority of his proposals. Among other items, the Governor’s Economic Growth Initiative includes homeownership and mortgage assistance programs, investments in transportation jobs, job creation tax credits, very low interest capital for small businesses and startups, investments in downtown development and the Governor’s New Neighborhoods affordable home construction initiative. In total, the Governor’s package has the potential to generate more than $200 million in direct economic activity and millions of dollars more in indirect economic multipliers.

Learn more at: www.taxfreevt.com

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: July 14, 2008 10:18:58