3-14-15 – A Small Business Owner’s Response to the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax

by Shayne Spence

Pama Tragg of Barre’s Quality Market testified on March 11 concerning the sugar-sweetened beverage tax being considered by the House Ways and Means and Healthcare Committees.  Her testimony was unequivocal – if a sugar-sweetened beverage tax is implemented, her small business will take a serious negative hit.  (SEE VIDEO)

“I’m talking as a small business owner who is looking at a sweetened beverage tax, an increase in the healthcare assessment on employers, a payroll tax, a tobacco increase tax, an electronic cigarette tax, a gas tax increase.  All of these things are a rope that are strangling small business.”

“We’re in a really, really competitive environment.  We have had 5, count them, 5 Dollar Generals open, and we’ve had Walmart open a Supercenter.  Believe me, that competition is impacting my business every single day.  And if we continue to see our inventory costs increase when these products come in our door, yes, I’m going to raise my prices in order to pay for that, because that’s what retail business does… You put out there that it’s a very small number, but this is going to increase at one of my stores $25,000 to our inventory costs.”

“If you want to see Vermont have Dollar General and Walmart for your options, because those companies are national or regional, and they can spread the costs across all of their businesses, then you can have Dollar Generals.  You won’t have stores like mine, because we can’t compete.”

“We are looking at tax, after tax, after tax.  And all this tax is going to do is drive sales elsewhere.  And we can’t afford that.”

It is hard to believe that this could still be considered with all these negatives, but hey.  There’s a budget hole to fill.

Shayne Spence is the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jim bulmer March 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm

The sugar tax is pure BS. It’s just one more over reach tax to raise money under the guise of a health issue. If it really is health, how does one justify the exemption of Ben & Jerry’s, Champlain Chocolates and maple syrup?


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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