MONTPELIER — Proponents of the proposed local option taxes to be included on Montpelier’s Town Meeting Day ballot this year argue that it’s an issue of fairness.
Mayor Mary Hooper has been pushing for local option taxes for several years to no avail. This year will be her final attempt to do so as mayor.
Hooper is not running for re-election in March. Former school board chairman and Statehouse lobbyist John Hollar is running unopposed for the job.
The business community clearly is not in favor of the idea to add a 1 percent tax on retail sales, rooms, meals and alcohol. But Montpelier isn’t composed of only businesses, and Hooper said someone needs to speak up for the residents.
Over the past 25 years, she said, the portion of the city’s budget paid for by residential property taxes has gone from 53 percent to 66 percent.
The reason for that shift, according to Hooper, is that residential property values have gone up much more quickly than commercial real estate values. Property taxes are based on a property’s value.
That means there’s been a significant shift of the economic burden for the city’s budget onto residential property owners, Hooper said.