Shut up and collect our taxes

BRATTLEBORO — In recent weeks, The Commons has presented well-reasoned arguments for and against increasing Brattleboro's local-option sales tax. Penned by local business owner Nancy Braus (against the increase) and Selectboard member Tim Wessel (pro increase), these were valuable contributions to the public debate.

Unfortunately, the public servant chose to step beyond the merits of the increase and question whether the business owner even has a legitimate role in the discussion.

“I ask that Nancy, and other shopkeepers who are not Brattleboro residents, allow us to make our own decisions about what is best for the town in which we live and vote.”

Seriously? “Our own decisions”? Non-resident shopkeepers are not valued stakeholders in Brattleboro's political and economic decisions? Business owners are not part of “us”?

Not long ago, television provocateur Laura Ingraham took umbrage at LeBron James's call for social justice. She urged James to “shut up and dribble.”

Wessel's message to Brattleboro's non-resident business owners, while slightly less snarky, is equally unambiguous: Shut up and collect our taxes.

As an elected official, Tim Wessel should be encouraging the participation of all interested parties in this discussion. His cavalier dismissal of an important part of our community is at best troubling and at worst downright disgraceful.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates