Senate Scraps Clean Water Cloud Tax, Looks to Increase Rooms and Meals Tax
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
In the 11th hour of the legislative session, senators have come up with a new plan to fund clean water: a 1% increase to the rooms and meals tax starting in January 2020.
During a Senate Finance Committee meeting Thursday afternoon, Sen. Chris Pearson, D/P-Chittenden, echoed by Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windsor, said they wanted to consider alternatives to the “cloud tax” on online software proposed by the House.
In an interview after the meeting, committee chair Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington said the cloud tax was not off the table for future years, but said the committee needed more time to figure out how it would work. She also said the Senate still has to negotiate with the House on a final proposal.
After taking weeks of testimony on the issue, House members settled on a “cloud” tax on software stored and accessed on the internet.
Vermont’s tech community quickly came out in opposition to the plan, arguing that it would stifle efforts to expand the industry in the state. Senate leader Tim Ashe also opposed the proposal, saying it was too difficult to even define what was being taxed.