John LaBarge: What is affordable housing?

This commentary is by John LaBarge, of Grand Isle. He is a former state representative and House Republican leader.

Recently several mayors of Vermont’s larger cities showed up at the Legislature to once again complain that Vermont needs affordable housing. For more than a decade the cry for affordable housing has come from the Legislature. The problem is you never hear from any of them what is considered affordable. Would one of you advocates please tell me how much a month for rent or a mortgage is affordable? What percentage of you NET pay should go towards housing? If you can’t put a price tag on it then how will you know when we reached our goal? Maybe you Democrats and Progressives don’t want to know because it’s a great political talking point.

John Labarge

John Labarge

Here’s the real problem. We will never see affordable housing in our state because it is not so much about the cost of housing but about the high cost of living in Vermont. People can’t afford an apartment or house because they have to spend too much on health care, child care, property taxes, food, clothing, heat, electricity, internet, phone service, car registration, car insurance, garbage and recycling fees, gas for their cars, diesel, sales and use taxes on products, etc. Vermont ranks one the highest states in the nation for many of these monthly services and cost of living in general. It’s not about having affordable housing it’s about not having enough money left from your paycheck to afford rent or a mortgage.

Democrats and progressives have been in control in Montpelier for decades now, have never met a tax or fee, or incentive program we have to pay for they couldn’t fall in love with. All in the name of what’s good for the people. Feel good legislation and a nanny state mentality is what strips our hard earned pay checks leaving many with little money for housing or child care and in many cases just enough for the necessities. So again, democrats and progressives, how much a month do you think a person should pay for housing? Let’s start talking dollar amount and go from there.

Now that Progressives and Democrats are in complete control in Montpelier with no risks of a Governor’s veto, they can begin their social engineering through taxation. This biennium through the global warming solution act they will increase the cost of gas, diesel, propane and natural gas until it forces people to convert or go without. They will try to sneak it through so it doesn’t look like a tax or fee levied on Vermonters. They will continue forcing people into electric vehicles (we pay for the incentives), forcing people to purchase heat pumps (we pay for incentives), and who knows what gas engine tools they will ban forcing landscapers and other workers to buy all new electric tools. Also, new mandates and regulations force contractors and landlords to spend more money there by increasing housing costs.

I was born and raised in Burlington and would love to live to my end here in Vermont, but I see Vermont becoming a Martha’s Vineyard where only the wealthy elite, will be able to live and enjoy the Vermont so many natives have fled because they can no longer afford to live here. The only Vermonters to remain will be those servicing the wealthy.

I’m seeing a political scene in Vermont where elected officials legislate and think with their emotions instead of their brains and a large number of Vermont residents do the same when they vote. Our beautiful and once independent state is either loss or will have to hit rock bottom before Vermont voters wake the hell up and realize we are being manipulated by social zealots with a total control agenda. We will end up with a two-party system, Democrats and Progressives who all think the same.

Images courtesy of Public domain and John Labarge

14 thoughts on “John LaBarge: What is affordable housing?

  1. If Montpelier wants something they know how to get it passed even if people don’t want it.

    Gun Laws
    Solar Panels
    Choo Choo Trains
    No tax on porn
    No ethics program, gut it of all enforcement and money.
    Abortion Bills
    Changing our constitution
    Raising our taxes
    Building Subsidized Housing
    Getting Non-residents the right to vote
    Passing easy going drug laws
    Letting serious drug dealers back on the street
    legalizing Drugs
    Programs for minorities to become drug dealers..yes we’ll pay you, give you discount to deal pot.

    Costco wants gas pumps…..we’ll drag you through court for a decade and then limit your hours of business….it’s called crony capitalism, the brother to socialism.

    Oh yea, but try and build homes for working Vermonters. Always seems to be reason, no. This that or the other thing, just can’t seem to get it done.

    Huh, must be another “coincidence”

    • You make great points, Mr. LaBarge. I’m a recovering Dem and can’t disagree with anything you say.

      I too, have wondered what is meant by affordable housing. It’s come to represent scam to me.

      I respect that, against all odds, you were in the legislature trying to effect change.

      Unfortunately, Repubs do a terrible job getting their fiscal message out. Too focused on using women’s bodies as a political battleground.

      Thanks for you service.

  2. Yes, the new session is started and the newly seated legislature is ready to again PRETEND that they will address the reasons that it is economically impractical to build affordable dwellings in Vermont. One can argue about the virtues or detriments of Act 250, Vermont’s statewide zoning laws that was the first knife in the back of affordable homeownership. Then came the septic revisions that often necessitated $20,000 pumped mound systems that are just so attractive in the front yard. More recently, fire safety officials got their noses involved in mandating excessively-large windows, wide driveways, fire ponds, and/or sprinkler systems in single-family homes if they happen to be “too far from the firehouse”. All due respect to fire safety professionals, but I dont ever remember voting for any of them. Now we have “stormwater” mandates adding to the price of a house. Remember when we used to just call it “rain”? On the federal level, we have an administration and a political party that regards a wide-open border policy a humanitarian obligation, and does not have the mental acuity to realize that letting in hundreds of thousands of indigent migrants will have any contrary effect on a chronic nationwide shortage of affordable housing.
    Other than the fundamental market laws of supply and demand, excessive government bureaucracy is primarily responsible for the high cost of housing in Vermont. So, go ahead Montpelier demoprogs and bring on more ineffectual virtue signaling legislation. While howling about racial and socioeconomic equity, they maintain Vermont as a premium-priced theme park. We voted for this.

  3. All across America there is a cry for more affordable housing. This cry comes from both sides of the political aisle. So how does allowing 5 million illegal aliens into the country make the housing situation better. Each and every one of those 5 million need housing and will be competing with American citizens for those few houses. Makes no sense at all.

    • Hey, they are trying to get a 200 room “work force housing” in Sugarbush…..dormitory, it’s really….


      Just interview the Vermonters working up on the mountain. Yet we can’t get homes.

  4. Permit$, mandate$$$, paperwork$$$, miserable zoning, HUGE cost$$$ of village, town and city operations.

    There will never be another One Nail Hauke home, 60 years old and affordable in Burlington
    Never again an Indian Acres in Essex , or a Villa Drive! All are the Same great neighborhoods still !!

    Inexpensive homes don’t pay enough taxes for the Big Spenders in Government !!?

    • Oh yeah. I recall in my old town, when someone mentioned expanding an existing Trailer Park….(it’s very, very affordable housing for lower incomes)….the uproar to stop it (and my old town is 75% to 80% Liberal Progressive)…was huge. Because Trailers crammed in all close…add too many more units…and many of them had KIDS…and more than one. The property Taxes received by the Town/State were between $1,000 and $2,000….but that was not TRUE…because every person in the Trailer park had incomes below the threshold, so the State SUBSIDIZES them!…to 2% of income…and could mean less than $1,000 paid. But to EDUCATE two kids in a trailer was over $19,000 a year each!. That is $38,000 for two (and $1,000 or less paid property taxe)! That does not include to TOWN TAXES… trailers pay little into…so when trailer parks come in (or expand)….school budgets zoom and fewer $ taxes for it…which means the rest of the town pays for it – in higher taxes.. Libs & Progressives were against expansion, such parks. So much for being all “feely good” – when it affects THEM directly ..Their attitude was NO FREE STUFF for trailer parks ….but free stuff for them???… of course 🙂

      • Gotta have those bike paths, soccer fields

        If your tax bill is less than $22,000 per kid, you’re being subsidized.

        All these migrants will work for less in dormitories….then they shipem’ back at the end of the ski season…keeps unemployment down too…

  5. You miss another point…if there were more high paying jobs…especially in the manufacturing area…there would be more prosperity for lower, to middle classes to afford a basic house, with their good salary. SO? Ask Why are no large compnanies coming to VT? Take TWO GUESSES…the reason are many. IBM PAID $1 billion cash to get OUT of their Essex Junction plant. Green Mountain Coffee is all but gone…no more mgmt or HQ jobs…many of it’s warehouses left VT. Burton Snowboiards, while technically here…moved it’s very large warehouse and distribution – TO flatland OHIO….because they ran into roadblocks to build out here…Act 250…again. Digital Equipment was here, remember?. Gone. Rossignol skii’s was here. Gone. Other ski firms were here, mostly gone. Many long time VT Banks have merged and moved HQ’s & consolidated staff (high pay jobs) – out of state. The list goes on…VT is a terrible place for business. The schools are terrible (and only teach WOKE), taxes massively high…frigid weather..and VT run bySocialist Dem Progressives who just want to tax you to death…and then hate on you because you are better off? It is all Class Envy, Class Warfare…Socialism…electricity is some of the higherst anywhere. Greenie Mandated. Now they want to all but ban, slowly…fuels, gas and heating oil? More businesses will LEAVE, and basially none will come. Then just wait….20% of VT population pays 65% to 70% of ALL income and property taxes…WHAT IF half of them leave too?

  6. Add on top of what you say which is true. The brother to socialism is crony capitalism, Vermont is rife with this stench.

    Nothing is affordable in a socialist environment because of “shrink”…in retail “shrink” is a term used for theft.

    When you can’t compete, when there is no free market, due to crony capitalism or socialism, there is a “value added tax” lol….basically everybody is skimming from every transaction. Things get pricey that way.

    When Bernie and company went to Russia, they were surely shown a make-believe country. Those coming from Russia have a hard time believing our store shelves are filled with things to purchase, this is not the case for most of Russia’s history. This is prevalent in all socialist and crony capitalist (corrupt) countries. The beneficiaries are bureaucrats and connected people. Just like Vermont.

    And because Vermont has embraced this type of life style, business and government, we have what we have.

    We look pretty, but our souls are rotted.

  7. Freestanding house for less than $225,000 is an easy start, easily obtainable. We could do new housing for less than $150k..

    We could have homes for less than $1,000 per month mortgage.

    They are not interested, haven’t been for decades.

    Build Back Better, You will own nothing and be happy is the mantra of

    Joe Biden
    World Economic Forum
    Charles Schwab
    The Vermont Democrats
    Agenda 2030
    Governor Phil Scott
    Vermont Natural Resource Council
    The Uniparty
    The VTGOP at large

    These are not “coincidences”

    The proposal just put before the officials of Montpelier is directly from Agenda 2030, instigated by the United Nations.

    Vermont is a complete puppet of these stoogies, all our zoning is from them, all the unelected Regional Planners are put in place to do their bidding.

    Vermont is completely controlled….we do need to Take Back Vermont,,, Tack Back our Country.

    Having been in real estate for 30+ years, been on many “affordable housing boards”, watched what these people DO…..I think you’ll find my statement accurate and true.

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