To the Editor: In the spirit of the holidays, I'm going to pay cash for my gasoline whenever I can. Record-high gas prices of late have been very tough on consumers, but the independent locally owned gas station owner has been hit hard, too. Thats because credit and debit card processing fees at gas stations are usually based on a percentage - as the retail price goes up, the processing fee paid by the gas station owner skyrockets, too. Im losing my profit on a lot of sales to these processing fees, an owner told me last month. Trade associations, station owners, and government officials are reviewing this problem. According to Tashia Wallis of the Vermont Retailers Association, Merchants even pay a credit card processing fee on the sales tax collected. Peter Burmeister and Anthony Pollina at Vermont Milk suggest that the establishment of a Vermont Credit Card with reasonable fees is a way to fight back while investing profits into Vermont Businesses. Fair solutions take time but honest conversation overdue. For this holiday season, if you are able to pay cash for your gas, you'll help the local gas station owner avoid excessive card fees, and help his or her bottom line - a local bottom line. Tom Salmon, CPA
Bellows Falls The writer is Auditor of Accounts for the State of Vermont.