Tuesday March 26, 2013

As a general store owner in Arlington, Vermont I am asking the legislature not to pass the sugar-sweetened beverage tax. My wife and I bought the Wayside Country Store in 1984 and have employed our sisters, sons, grandchildren and neighbors to help build our business. We treat our customers like members of our family and operate with the same spirit that the Wayside Country Store had when its door opened in the 1850s. Homemade, Vermont made, real food; that is what we sell. Storeowners stocking shelves, smiling faces, real community: that’s how we treat our customers. We are part of the colorful fabric of the state and bring history and honesty to our community.

I implore you to start with education to help Vermonters that struggle with obesity. All consumers could benefit from the promotion of active and healthy lifestyles and a better understanding of nutritional choices. Don’t start with a tax policy which studies show will drive people to products with the same caloric value or out-of-state.

Please remember downtowns everywhere are dying, as people seeking cheaper goods flee to the Walmarts and Costcos of the world. Stores like ours are already going the way of the dinosaur and this tax will simply add to the threat to our survival. The same lawmakers proposing to tax our customer’s drinks claim they support "buying local", but this tax policy will push people to do just the opposite. The New York border is less than 10 miles away from our store and Massachusetts’ border is less than 15 miles away. Vermont’s current tax policy already gives consumers second thoughts about buying local and the proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax and gas tax will completely drive them over the border for everyday purchases.

Please protect our downtowns, our historical general stores and independent small business owners. Vote down the sugar sweetened beverage tax.

DOUGLAS A. TSCHORN

NANCY J. TSCHORN

Wayside Country Store

Arlington Strongly disagrees with Dupuy column

Ms. Tina Dupuy’s theory (Column, 3/25/13) surrounding her comparison between Christmas and Easter would have merit if it were the billion dollar corporations like Wal-Mart initiating the public outcry regarding how it has in fact become "politically incorrect" to utter greetings such as "Merry Christmas" and to display retail store advertising exclaiming the same.

However, those entities are not the ones bemoaning how "political correctness" has contributed to nearly extinguishing religious-based traditions and assisted in nearly banishing certain verbiage from the American language.

That would be me. And others like me. Average, typical, American (Vermont) citizens who are struggling to make it in this culture and world from paycheck to paycheck.

Tell us then precisely Ms. Dupuy, how EXACTLY does MY position or stance on this issue in any way net someone such as me a big "payout" from my agreeing wholeheartedly that there is indeed a drive to banish the terminology of "Christmas" from our culture as you assert in your column?

Please let me know how I am set to financially profit from this personal opinion I share on this matter. Our family and others who agree that "P.C." has gone way too far could certainly use some additional cash flow coming in via all that annual December profit you describe.

Oh, and by the way, a very early Merry Christmas to you.

FRANK E. GIORANDINO

Pownal