Legislature considers candy tax; Miro and McCormack feud over idling enforcement

By Guy Page

The House Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to discuss a sales tax on candy Thursday morning, according to its weekly agenda.

According to a member of the committee, the proposed tax will be 6 percent, the same as the general sales tax. At present, candy is considered a grocery food and as such is exempt from Vermont sales taxation. The proposed tax reportedly would continue to exempt candy which includes flour.

According to a 2018 USA Today report, the most popular candies in Vermont are Milky Way, Skittles, and M&M’s. Vermont’s “sugar industry economic output” is $226 million, or 20th lowest in the nation. Sugar consumption among Vermont children 14 and under is 15.5% of total, the lowest in the nation. There are about 11.5 candy and chocolate shops per 100,000 people.

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Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger

A disagreement between Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Burlington, over enforcing the city and state idling laws erupted into an open argument in the State House on Tuesday.

Burlington passed an anti-idling ordinance in 1990 and the state of Vermont passed an anti-idling law in 2013. McCormack, chair of the House Transportation Committee, is an influential proponent of carbon emissions reduction. Neither city or state prohibitions have ever been enforced, a situation McCormack would like to modify.

Interviewed Wednesday by the Vermont Daily Chronicle, McCormack said he is not asking for police to cite or issue fines to operators of idling cars. He said he has repeatedly asked Mayor Weinberger, in person and by email, to direct city police who happen to be walking by an idling car to tap on the window and give operators a friendly reminder that they are in violation of the city ordinance. The mayor has not been receptive, McCormack said.

Around noon Tuesday, this reporter saw the two men standing in the Card Room —  idling, as it were, at a major intersection of State House foot traffic — when Weinberger said to McCormack in a moderately-raised voice, “You are so out of touch with what’s happening” for bringing up idling “with all that’s going on.” A moment later Weinberger abruptly turned his back and left the room. McCormack responded in a raised voice, “that’s great — for asking people to obey the law?”

Weinberger, a Democrat, did not itemize what he meant by “with all that’s going on,” leaving observers free to wonder if he is more concerned with the city’s public health response to the coronavirus, his police department’s well-publicized morale issues, or the newly Progressive City Counci’s heightened focus on city police conduct.

The mayor has not returned this reporter’s phone call or email sent yesterday.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

Image courtesy of TNR

7 thoughts on “Legislature considers candy tax; Miro and McCormack feud over idling enforcement

  1. What an interesting bunch of complaints! I don’t see why the Mayor should expect Rep. McCormack to be thinking about what he himself is thinking – many issues need attention. We must deal with the virus, and that doesn’t mean nothing else matters.
    Idling – if it’s cold weather and the car needs it, the car needs it. We can’t turn off all the cars at four-way stop signs. Otherwise, the law should be enforced. I don’t know about the candy tax, but how much tax will candy bring in? Soda is much more popular now.
    I hope everyone makes it through this tense situation, without having to find someone (locally) to blame. Is there any way to get a truckload of Purell to town, to give away to the homeless and penniless?
    The best of luck to everyone. May we be a community, and act like it.
    [Oh yeah – Bernie uses commercial airlines. Seen him do it.]

  2. Yeah, and for those of us without heated garages to park our vehicles in (wven when out on errands), in sub zero temperatures we are not supposed to use car starters because we might violate the liberals laws & ordnances against idling your vehicle to warm it up or you for that matter. Maybe southern California might want to think that is reasonable, but in cold / frigid temperatures that sounds like fools logic.

  3. I’ve been in strange places and go to start my vehicle. It wouldn’t start. The starter crapped out. So had it towed to a garage and have the starer replaced. Mega costs. Cheaper to idle a vehicle if you’re going to be near it than constantly shut it off and restart. You never know.

    So police are suppose to rap on windows and tell people to turn off their engines. Will they do that at vehicles at stop lights? Much more C02 emitted there. Count all those cars sitting and idling, it must drive McCormack nuts. He has nothing better to do. Power crazed. Wonder what the cost to a town would be to have their police tapping on windows? The drug and crime problems be damned. Sure is an inverted reality.

  4. Maybe McCormack could just convince burnee not to fly private jets anymore
    as he’s never going to win a national election.. that would save way more co2z then all the idling cars he’d like the police to hassle…voters who vote in ijits
    get ijits…time for a rolling coal convention in that particular ijits neighborhood.

  5. It amazes me how these gov’t officials just try to nickel and dime the taxpayers out of their hard earned money. They are so greedy and despite to keep those tax dollars rolling in, even if it means taxing a little child when they want to buy a piece of candy. They are pathetic.

  6. Miro and McCormack feud over idling enforcement: Oh gracious fellas — A suggestion…When you have an idea…a value you’d like your neighbors to abide by you have an obligation to promote that idea among your neighbors before you jump to trying to force them to comply. You need to build a consensus that it would be a good idea to abide by some value you’re proposing. “Hey folks, it’s looking like there may be a problem with our planet’s carbon balance. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to cut back on carbon emissions by refraining from letting our cars idle?” Don’t we need to reach a critical mass of agreement on the proposal before resorting to legislative force? Or, short of that, don’t you need some indication that the populace will submit simply as law-abiders? Do you really expect folks to comply if you haven’t done our due-diligence “missionary” work to convert them? Do you really think it’s an issue of escalating enforcement? How police state-ish of you. Your dispute in this arena was predictable. Don’t be surprised if you’re enlightened laws elicit apathy or even a cloud of resentment from constituents who feel bullied.

  7. Whatever happened to the slogan “our bodies, our selves”- good enough for abortion rights, why not for everyone who wants to eat sweets, have large portions…

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