John Klar: Vermont’s frenzied wealth transfer from taxpayers to state employees

By John Klar

Vermont is suffering a crisis of big government, a bureaucratic tax-and-regulate strangulation that is destroying what is already the smallest economy in the nation. Even before COVID struck, Forbes had predicted that “The state’s economic outlook is … weak with job and income growth expected to badly lag the rest of the country over the next five years.” Post-COVID, the Green Mountains finished near the bottom of the national pack (42nd) in the first quarter of 2020, with a 6.1% drop in GDP.

During the COVID-19 threat, Vermont’s Legislature gave itself a raise while it rammed numerous pre-planned progressive initiatives through a remotely-convened legislative process. The state announced an expected $459 million budget shortfall due to the pandemic, and has yet to revise it’s estimated $4.5 billion pension shortfall to reflect the impacts of COVID. Yet, the Legislature appropriated millions of dollars to subsidize EV cars, and seeks to enact a Global Warming Solutions Act that grants legal standing (and a statutory claim for attorney’s fees) to out-of-state special interest groups to sue the State to compel compliance with arbitrary carbon emission “targets.”

These efforts spray gasoline on Vermont’s fiscal flames. In the years since 2013, Vermont employees have been granted wage and benefit increases that outpace inflation: in only one of those years has Vermont median income risen faster than inflation (median income numbers are not yet available for 2019, but state workers gained 2.6% in salaries and 3.9% in benefits in 2019, exceeding annual inflation of 2.3%). Thus, in all years but one Vermont citizens’ income did not keep pace with inflation: their net worth is steadily deteriorating. 

But as COVID shows, just because Vermont taxpayers suffer economic woe does not mean state employees will share in those losses — they are insulated from the economic winds that blow across the real economy. Farmers cannot demand higher prices than their milk will attract — they’ve had to dump milk on the ground. People whose businesses have been shuttered cannot just skip off to other work.   

John Klar

Vermont’s clueless legislators have been scurrying to find federal or other funds to replace that $459 Million in lost revenue — but that tax revenue reflects just a portion of income lost by taxpayers. Instead of tightening belts as Vermonters have, the Legislature has launched new spending schemes before it has either replaced lost revenue or reassessed its gargantuan state pensions obligations (it has been bypassing appropriate funding of pensions for decades). 

Going forward, the pain for taxpayers will be very real. While Vermont’s governor has made COVID-19 the dragon he slayed to save the people, he has unleashed an economic gracken that is just beginning to feed. The governor lacks the weaponry to fight that mighty beast — he won’t even peer over his castle walls to see the thing coming! Federal COVID spending will fuel inflation, further eroding elderly and other fixed incomes in Vermont; undermining efforts to start or rebuild businesses.  Many of Vermont’s restaurants and businesses will never reopen. 

But Vermont’s Legislature never closed it’s business of siphoning wealth off taxpayers with endless pretenses and gimmicks. On the contrary, there has been a steady chorus of progressive calls for higher taxes on the rich, deaf to the fact that those pockets too have been diminished by COVID — that’s why revenues are down. Vermont government is in the business of picking pockets, using the suffering of taxpayers to justify an ever deeper grab. 

As the true losses of income caused by COVID are absorbed, taxpayers will see in 2020 more clearly than ever that Vermont’s government is taking care of itself at their expense — then employing the resulting economic hardship to extract more in taxes for yet more social programs. Vermonters could sit around waiting for Robin Hood to arrive and reclaim their hard-earned wealth on their behalf from this bevy of Nottingham Sheriffs. Or, they could vote for fiscal common sense and accountability before this whole government Ponzi scheme collapses around their ears. 

Thanks to COVID, this ongoing pilfering is now exposed, as is Vermont’s broader economic vulnerability in the event of national downturn. Vermonters were some of the most independent people in America in 1929, but now are reduced to groveling servitude before legislative lords and out-of-state millionaires. 

To be dependent on tourists is humiliating. To be dominated by government is more so. Native Vermonters have become tourists because of government overreach — they are fleeing to freer lands.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.

Image courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org
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30 thoughts on “John Klar: Vermont’s frenzied wealth transfer from taxpayers to state employees

  1. Calling bs on the steady-gunning, bullying dogpile and orchestrated effort to destroy this campaign which occurs with every post by Republican candidate for governor John Klar. Has become troll-like no matter how circuitous the route or polite and well-spoken the steady-gunners manning their bridge may appear.

    Duplicitous double-talk, assaults of baseless claims are accepted w/o question by the opposition. Nothing of any substance is ever claimed – just a glib backhanded ongoing dead-horse beating of Mr Klar greatly exaggerating assortment of supposed political crimes – past voting record, that he lived in Connecticut tho he has farmed in VT for decades – and family has farmed in VT for generations – writes and blogs about farming culture and champions the constitution? Soo – thats all the organized shadow-campaign for Kevin Hoyt can conjure? Facepalm.

    And look at Chairman Phil astonishing fall from grace – a true Vermonter? Was a loyal supporter and cried watching Fight Song announcement. Put self out there as a capable conservative in image of good-guy Mike Row? Never in wildest dreams could foresee coming of knife in our backs. Soros bff Koch-bankrolling influence makes him unelectable as Republican period and has turned an already declining and decaying – due to Democrat destruction – VT into an official trainwreck.

    Mr Klar has explained in great detail political journey – gotta say it sounds like my own. In the days of a less polarized world many of us who are conservative-leaning Indys voted for the less hazardous option as war-criminal MCain showed horrifying judgement by bringing Palin clan aboard – at his age a clueless numbskull becomes a bananapeel away from highest office in the world and turning red states blue?

    Ever the preening showboat and icky misogynist Mitt ‘binders-of-women’ Romney’s past behavior reveals a pattern of abject cruelty – sociopath comes to mind. So no – I cannot vote for someone who scares the bejezis out of me and could easliy see starring in a horror movie -bc he’s a Republican? And look at the jack*ss he turned out to be.

    The political-blowback from horror-show of Manchurain Hussein ushered in NY liberal, Clinton friend and reliable supporter of Democrat politicians turned wrecking-ball of all-things globalist, leftwing and Hussein – Donald J Trump? One of the most beloved and respected Republican POTUS Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat? Too funny. Ppl can change for better or worse.

    Initially was not a Trump supporter and terrified the man was a secret Nazi. Went thru hell summer of 2016 as Killary was never an option – just a door for another Bill Clinton presidency. And even considered voting Bernie believing he would get nothing done bc he would be blocked by congress. After rabbit-hole fallings and walking thru the looking glass into leftwing lunacy now recognize I can never vote Democrat. Sheesh – give me a break pls.

    • Remember how Bernie got a leg up – gun control after Peter Smith epic fail. Voted Bernie believing he was helping VTers and veterans and considered him a crazy folk hero. When he ran for POTUS – increased visibility showed his ugly pied-piper personality-disordered dark side – and fullblown Marxist past emerged – included myriad reveals – even the kids displayed similar behavior exposing them as a Bonnie and Clyde-gang of flimflam charlatans.

      Following public praising of Communist dictators and Antifa alignment it was curtains. The still-sane Democrats put the kibosh on…and in desperation chose an elderly, disoriented with clear signs of dimentia, presidential candidate and is now a mere placeholder which speaks volumes of Comrade Sanders spectacular fall. Who is now running presidential campaign in basement as handlers attempt to escort Biden across the finish line? Keeping him hidden bc he’s a stumbling, bumbling out-of-control gaffe machine?

      • John Klars writing are in Digger and also TNR – one would be bat-blind not to see the man is our only real hope. In his own words for anyone who wants to know – JOHNKLAR2020 Mashup:
        John Klar, Farmer, Food Rights Activist and Attorney
        https://www.motherearthnews.com/biographies/john-klar-vermont-farmer-food-rights-activist-and-attorney
        Featured writer @ Liberty Nation:
        https://www.libertynation.com/author/farmerjohnklar/
        Lots of links:
        https://muckrack.com/john-klar
        Blog:
        https://johnklar.wordpress.com/

      • John Klar champions rural life and responsible expansion of agriculture – his plan is retro back-to-the-future of VT and brilliant imo. There are many families who wish to come to farm and farms going bankrupt and closing each year -heartbreaking.

        Humanely raised and slaughtered meat, poultry and cage-free eggs are sought after and prized by organic food consumers, health junkies, gourmet restaurants nationwide as well as ppl who wish to know where their food comes from and how it was raised – Made in Vermont is still a symbol of food purity – brilliant. My brother tapped trees and sold VT Maple Syrup online and had orders as far away as Norway.

        As globalist-inspired Agenda 30 central planners wish to turn VT into a colonized banana-republic feudal society far away from the 5G cancer-causing networks complete with mass surveillance sensors and cameras. Reduce the few remaining residents to slavery on behalf of wealthy elites – John Klars plan endorses self-reliance, better opportunities and support for the struggling small-farm agriculture industry.

        UN Goal is to move everyone to mega project-style housing in population centers by imposing carbon taxation making rural life unaffordable, destroy suburban life by changing zoning laws and making travel in our vehicles also unaffordable – even making wood burning and barbecues illegal.

        VT needs this industry and related industry it would spawn.

      • And see Parkinson stiffness and affect is dull and movement slowed – can only be in public for very short time periods and beaming wife is there primarily to keep him oriented.

        Remember epipen man…big burly black dude looked like a bouncer injecting Clinton and giving pep talks @ lectern?

  2. Subsidized Solar Profiteers Aided and Abetted by Legislators and GSWA

    James Moore of SunCommon wants to build-out “solar for solar’s sake”, because he makes good money installing solar systems. He does not care about:

    1) Midday, grid-disturbing, Duck-curves, and grid-disturbing downward output spikes due to variable cloudy weather
    2) Expensive grid extension/augmentation to physically connect solar systems and subsequently deal with their output variations
    3) Net-Metered solar and Standard-Offer solar charged to the utility rate base at up to 21.7 c/kWh, whereas such solar is worth to a utility about 8.5 c/kWh
    4) Owners of other generators, mostly gas turbine plants, having to rapidly decrease their outputs to let solar onto the grid, starting around mid-morning, and then rapidly increase their outputs to fill the void as solar nods off to go to sleep, starting late-afternoon/early-evening (a period with peak demands), until about mid-morning the next day
    5) Ratepayers, taxpayers, etc., paying through the nose, while they are being told various fables/fantasies about Vermont fighting climate change. See explanation of cost-shifting in Table 4.
    6) His subsidy-fueled solar job creation causes increasing costs, decreasing job creation, and anemic growth in other sectors.

  3. John,

    You mention GWSA.
    Here is a write-up with some details.

    GWSA would be decades of hardship for Vermonters to ACHIEVE NOTHING REGARDING CLIMATE CHANGE.
    GWSA is merely a license to provide decades of subsidies to the RE sector.

    THE GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS ACT A DECADES-LONG BURDEN ON VERMONT
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-global-warming-solutions-act-a-decades-long-burden-on-vermont

    The Vermont House passed the Global Warming “Solutions” Act bill, GWSA, and sent it to the Vermont Senate, which also passed it. The bill, if enacted, would convert the aspirational goals of the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, into mandated goals, with penalties. GWSA has been called “must pass this Session”.

    Capital Costs to Implement the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan

    In 2015, Energy Action Network, EAN, an umbrella organization for RE businesses, etc., had estimated it would take at least $1.0 BILLION per year for 35 years to implement the CEP by 2050, not counting many $billions for financing costs and replacement costs of short-live systems (wind, solar, batteries, EVs, heat pumps) during these 35 years.

    http://eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EAN-2015-Annual-Report-
    https://outside.vermont.gov/sov/webservices/Shared%20Documents/2016

    Vermont Business Climate

    Vermont has a very poor climate for traditional, private-enterprise job creation. Forbes, et al., rate Vermont near the bottom. There are too many onerous taxes, fees and surcharges, and rules and regulations, that have caused businesses to not grow in Vermont, to leave Vermont, or not even come to Vermont.

    Vermont’s population is stagnant. Ambitious, younger people leave, older, more-needy people stay. Well-paying, steady jobs, with decent benefits, are hard to come by in Vermont.

    GWSA to Subsidize Job Creation in RE Sectors

    GWSA would require major increases in the current levels of various subsidies to all sorts of RE businesses for decades; an expensively subsidized, industrial development policy to produce expensive, mostly variable/intermittent, wind/solar electricity and “to create jobs”.

    GWSA would be an expensive substitute for traditional, private-enterprise job creation, which has proven so difficult in Vermont, largely because of historic, socialistic mindsets within the Legislature, which prefer to protect/enlarge/perpetuate vote-getting pet projects, rather than create the proper conditions for a vibrant private sector.

    GSWA Requires Major Annual Spending Increases

    Annual spending on RE would have to increase from the current $210 million/y (includes $60+ million for Efficiency Vermont) to at least $1.0 BILLION PER YEAR, to implement the CEP.

    If the RE subsidies were “freebie” federal subsidies, they would subsidize and grow RE businesses, and create jobs.
    However, federal subsidies increase and decrease, and come and go.

    If the subsidies were “state” subsidies, such as for 1) heat pumps, 2) electric vehicles, and 3) above-market, feed-in rates for solar, such as net-metering at 21.7 c/kWh and Standard Offer at 21.7 c/kWh, they would be extracted from Vermont ratepayers, taxpayers and tourists, which, as has been proven, would create jobs in the RE sectors, but would, as has been proven, eliminate jobs, or prevent jobs from being created, in almost all private-enterprise sectors.

    That would further worsen the near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, and prolong the adverse employment conditions of the “Virus economy”.

    Brief Summary of GWSA

    The Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, led by Peter Walke (who is a member of EAN), has to create the rules and regulations, and penalties for non-compliance, which would be subject for review by a “Council of Wise Men”, i.e., mostly appointed RE proponents.

    As part of GWSA, if the ANR measures would not sufficiently reduce Vermont’s carbon dioxide, CO2, as scheduled, any entity, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, would be allowed to sue the state government, with lawyer’s fees reimbursed, if the suit is upheld in Court.

    As part of GWSA, the legislature would play no role other than vote to provide the money, extracted from more and more impoverished, already-struggling, Virus-unemployed Vermonters, to implement it all.

    I foresee one litigious brouhaha after another; Vermonters becoming more and more oppressed and impoverished in the pursuit of impossible climate goals and Vermont becoming less and less attractive as a place to live.

    GWSA would be decades of torture of Vermonters to achieve nothing regarding the climate, other than “feel-good/virtue-signaling”.

  4. Please put your desire to help the state to good use. Find people to run. If we as republicans can take back the house we can then and only then counter the left in the state house. Run or recruit someone to contact your county chair to get on the ballot. It matters not who the governor is as long as a super majority runs our state.

    • I urge you to come take a look at NH’s 603alliance.org to learn how to unite, organize, help support and train candidates that might want to run- as well as teaching people how to really support them so they can win.
      They tell me that someone was supposed to be having an 802alliance (?) but where is it?
      They would be pleased to help you with this in Vermont.. anything helps, accept the offer!
      You must take back your state.
      All of New England is now in trouble and dare I say, In Crisis.
      Look at this mess we are leaving for our kids.. we must all act.

  5. As we watch our nation on every news channel burning, looting, people being shot wounded and killed – even police beat up and appearing with cracked skulls – we need look no further than Nazi-collaberator George Soros who bankrolls BLM and the sycophantic minions who support what looks like our very own Nuremburg with an invisible dictator and the ‘new normal’.
    Embodiment of evil:
    A look at people and groups funded by Soros
    By Uriel | July 15, 2020 | 2020 Election[..]:
    Out of curiosity over the years, how has George Soro’s interference in elections created today’s dilemmas?
    http://hardnoxandfriends.com/2020/07/15/a-look-at-people-and-groups-funded-by-soros/
    George Soros
    https://capitalresearch.org/tag/george-soros/
    9 Things You Need To Know About George Soros
    By Aaron Bandler
    Aug 17, 2016 DailyWire.com
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/9-things-you-need-know-about-george-soros-aaron-bandler

  6. It’s the way I see it. I think I read the the State of Vt, is the biggest employer in Vermont. So with all these state employees why cant any state agency answer the phone.? Have you tried to reach a state agency lately? All you get is voice mail. They are all essential workers so why aren’t they working? When will the democrat legislators realize that most Vermont taxpayers don’t make as much as State employees and don.t have good benefits yet they expect us to foot the bill with higher taxes. It is a pipe dream to expect that the federal government will bail us out of our financial crisis which started long before this pandemic.

  7. Mr. klar has voted the socialist agenda all of this life.

    Now that he is attempting to fool vermonters into thinking he is qualified to be on the Republican ticket running as a third-party AG Republican he comes out pretending to be an advocate for the right.

    There is absolutely no way John klar should get near the golden dome in Montpelier… He is a Bernie Sanders supporter and has voted is socialist ideology all of his life..

    No thanks John I’m going to vote for Kevin Hoyt 2020

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10217937007758337&id=1278838583

  8. Mr. Klar is pointing out a transfer of political power as well. Check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Vermont. https://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.vt.htm

    You will clearly see that of the 261 thousand non-farm workers in Vermont, more than 40% of them are employed in the Government, Health and Education sectors – all subsidized with taxpayer dollars. With 110 thousand employees reliant on government control of the economy, who do you think they, their families, and the special interest groups serving them, are going to vote for?

    The die is cast. This group will likely bleed the society dry before coming to the realization that they will ultimately have to cannibalize themselves in order to survive. The metaphor of a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ isn’t so far-fetched after all.

  9. According to Karl Marx, the only class distinction that mattered was the distinction between the Working Class and the Ruling Class. This is also the doctrine of the Progressives; they are patently Corporatist and they are patently Statist. Conservatives rule by leading, Progressives by Controlling. The most effective means by which they exercise totalitarian control is by reducing their subjects to dependent penury – which, under current circumstances, also motivates departure from Vermont. That effective safety valve is why Marx said that Socialism could not work until the whole world was Socialist, i.e. when there could be no escape. The pension funding shortfall is reminiscent of the forties suspense movies wherein the audience becomes increasingly, tensely aware of an inescapable pending disaster unknown to its potential victims – or California, where the (unrealized) high speed rail absorbed the capital that could have prevented dam and spillway failures, could have increased reservoir capacity, could have paid for forest maintenance to prevent runaway wildfires.

    • I couldn’t have said it as well as you. And here we have a person running for governor who can articulate what is happening now right before mostly blind Vermonter’s eyes. If you can’t see what’s happening to your freedom, culture and for those who moved here your future. It’s time to stand up and return Vermont to it’s values prior to the flatlander invasion. Those who came here to tell us and order us how to live and what to drive and every other aspect of our life. re-read what John said above and do yourself a favor and wake up. You are a free person if you choose to be so. Does the government own you or do you and we own the government? Let that sink in! Then think about it again!!

      • Post Script: With regard to Mr. Klar’s political history of liberal projection, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. As George Bernard Shaw opined:

        “Any man who is not a communist at the age of twenty is a fool.
        Any man who is still a communist at the age of thirty is an even bigger fool.”

        Whether or not Mr. Klar is a wolf in sheeps clothing remains to be seen. Whether or not he’s electable is doubtful. I’m preparing for the worst.

        • The wolf is already devouring the state. The current governor is the sheep we elected as a republican. How did that turn out? An outsider is needed. Phil Scott rubbed elbows with all those lefties at Mount Stupid for 16 years. It’s a club now and it’s us against them because no one hears us any more. We as citizens are no longer represented in Montpeculier. It’s that simple. Mr. Klar is an unknown option I’m willing to take. The other option is the same as we have now, nothing good.

          • Here’s my post script. I voted for Phil Scott twice. That’s all he gets from me. If he wins the primary I’ll vote for Kevin Hoyt who has less of a chance than John Klar. If the dem/progs win, I’m moving after 60+ years in my birth state. I’ve had enough and can no longer afford to live here and watch my freedom stolen from incompetent politicians who moved here from other states pushing a worthless agenda to control and manipulate my life for their unattainable Utopia.
            TAKE BACK VERMONT

          • If John Klar doesn’t get it hoping for an Indy run – regardless still writing him in
            KLAR2020 Go John!

        • Given the situation you are in- do you really want to take this chance?

          I don’t think you all realize what a crisis it is to continue to lose your own native born population that knows what the heck you are there.
          Politics is downstream of Culture. So how are you going to take back your state politically and return to a time that was more successful if the people that know what that was are all gone?
          You have to now rebuild a Base to get these people elected.
          Because the base you had is now all down South or over here in NH.

  10. Vermont’s legislativative powers will try and use COVID-19, AKA ” Wuhan Virus ”
    to justify spending boondoggles for any shortfalls or additional legisaltivative
    foolisness.

    The COVID-19, is scary and we have NO cure, what’s scarier is Liberal Democrats
    in charge, a cancer from within……. but there is a cure, vote these fools out !!

    • Why is Covid 19 scary? It has about a 98% recovery rate.
      I’m here in NH, much more open than you are, our border is an hour from Boston, I have 1.36 million people here and only 24 people are in the hospital here right now.
      This is not something that is making people very sick- or there would be more than 24 people in the hospital.

      We are suppose to be the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave- if you all remember.

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