Douglas to Vermonters: "Tax holiday a tremendous success"

MONTPELIER Governor Jim Douglas today said the sales tax holiday he pushed through the Legislature is giving Vermonts 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. Vermonts retailers have been excellent partners in this effort and contributed significantly to its success, he added. Included in the Governors 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's Economic 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 Governors 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 Governors New Neighborhoods affordable home construction initiative. In total, the Governors package has the potential to generate more than $200 million in direct economic activity and millions of dollars more in indirect economic multipliers.

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