There’s been speculation around Gov. Shumlin’s proposed tax on break open tickets sold in Vermont’s veterans, fraternal and service organizations and how much revenue it might produce. Potentially it could raise no new revenue and could put much of the charitable work done through these organizations in serious jeopardy.
As Vermont ElksAssociation’s president, I will identify just a few of the programs and causes which are at risk. The VEA, consisting of 13 member lodges, uses this funding to sponsor children’s sports teams, camps, and drug awareness programs; numerous veterans programs; and cash donations to Meals on Wheels, Parent Child Centers, free medical clinics, and emergency food and fuel programs. The National ELKS organization gives more in scholarships to our young Americans than any other group except the federal government. This source of revenue contributes to this cause for our Vermont students.
The funds are also used to support our Silver Towers Camp for People with Disabilities (Ripton, VT) which was the first residential camp of its kind in our country. Campers, 7 to 70, join us from across New England and don’t need to be affiliated with the Elks. Without this resource, our camp, and all of the causes named in the previous paragraph, would be in danger.
It was estimated that the surcharge would raise revenue for the state -while in truth it could mean no new revenue and would cause a great loss to Vermont’s local communities. Since this surcharge could cause a loss in revenue to these charitable organizations, something they cannot afford, many have said they would cease to sell tickets.
If this were to happen, much of the charitable good currently supported by these funds would be lost and no new state revenue would be gained.
Lori Pinsonneault, president
Vermont Elks Association