Moore: ‘State Rankings 2019’ shows that Vermont has a long way to go

By Bill Moore

Hockey season has ended. The NBA has declared its champion. Baseball is in full swing. Warmer temperatures have finally settled over the land, along with some relatively sunny days. It seems like normalcy has returned to the realm.

Normalcy at the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce means that we have received our latest copy of Congressional Quarterly’s annual report, “State Rankings 2019.”

The Central Vermont Chamber, along with a coalition of likeminded businesses, Chambers and Associations, has been lobbying to create a pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs economy. We believe that creating a climate that encourages investment in the state will lead to market-driven, better, higher paying jobs. “State Rankings 2019” points out that we still have a long way to go.

Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald

Bill Moore, president of Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce

The tome compares the most currently available statistics and creates simple rankings of the states and District of Columbia in 566 tables.

While listing all of Vermont’s rankings would be too lengthy to present here, I have taken some of the rankings as representative of the challenges facing the state. Here goes.

We come in at the bottom of the list for crimes committed (9,994) and violent crimes (1,034), 49th in terms of crime rate per 100,000 population (1,602.5). Other significant indicators of crime put us in the range of 45th – 50th. This, despite ranking 40th for officers per 10,000 population.

In terms of agriculture, Vermont has 7,300 farms landing us in 43rd place. We come in at 42nd with 1.250 million acres of farmland. Our average farm size ranks 39th at 171 acres. The per-acre value nationally is $3,140 and in Vermont, it valued at $3,400 (25th ), an increase in value of 1.2 percent over the previous year. The net farm income in Vermont totaled $228,883,000 and is ranked 40th with an average of $31,293 (20th).

Our gross domestic product of $32,545,200,200 puts us dead last, but our year-over-year change in GDP of 3.7 percent puts us in 37th place for growth. Our per capita state exports of $4,792 finds us in 11th place. On the other hand, our per capita imports ($5,749) rank us 19th . Our per capita personal income of $52,225 (19th) compares to the national rate of $51,640. Per capita disposable income of $46,781 ($45,400 nationally) finds us in 18th place.

The average annual pay in Vermont is $46,186, ranking us 35th. The average hourly rate for production workers of $21.30 has us in 23rd place ($27.30 nationally). We rank second-to-last in terms of job growth (.1 percent).

Our energy prices at $20.40 per million BTUs have us nearly the highest in the nation at number seven. An average of $64,806 for the average monthly Vermont industrial electric bill is the third highest in the country. We ranked 43rd for electricity generated through renewable sources. We are 37th for the average price of natural gas delivered to commercial customers and 9th for the same delivered to residential customers.

Looking at taxes, we have the 18th highest per capita adjusted gross income ($30,964). We are fourth for state and local tax revenue as a percent of personal income, fifth for per capita state and local tax revenue and fourth for state and local tax burden as a percent of income.

We have the lowest pupil-teacher ratio in public elementary and secondary schools of 10.8 against a national ratio of 16. Fourth graders proficient or better in reading (43 percent) ranks us third in the nation; eighth graders are also ranked third (45 percent). The proficiency or better for fourth graders in math is ranked 15th (42 percent) while the numbers for eighth grade are 39 percent (10th). Per capita state and local expenditures for education ranks Vermont third at $4,295. The average student costs at public institutions of higher education are $26,786 putting us second. We rank 6th for percent of population graduated from high school (92.6) and 7th for percentage with a bachelor’s degree or more (38.3).

There are enough statistics in “State Rankings 2019” to keep interested readers busy through the summer. Many of the rankings are so striking that the book should be mandatory reading for all legislators.

Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Images courtesy of USDA and Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald
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6 thoughts on “Moore: ‘State Rankings 2019’ shows that Vermont has a long way to go

  1. Unfortunately with the powers that be in charge you can’t really expect ANY improvement. This would
    actually be the pinnacle of what will be achieved. The brainless trust we have in government is only
    capable of producing ASSAULT AGENDA Policy that has already been thrust on other states citizens by
    their leftist overlords. If you can’t be used as a victim model by the leftarded they want nothing to do with you.

  2. These rankings must be taken with a grain of salt…but carefully considered none the less.

    For example, Vermont graduates 92.6% of its high school students. What the stats also tell us is that more than half of them graduate without meeting grade level standards… a phenomenon practiced in every state dominated by the NEA and AFT teacher unions.

    Now consider that Vermonters pay the 4th highest taxes and the 2nd highest per student costs in the U.S., while fewer than half its students meet grade level standards. Other states, like Idaho for example, have similar student performance. But Idaho education costs are 1/3rd the education costs in Vermont.

    Lastly, consider the rarely mentioned context of this data. Indeed, they should be mandatory reading. But not just for legislators. Our American Constitutional Republic was founded on the basis of state autonomy (i.e. State’s Rights) allowing each state to not only act as it see fit without federal intervention – but to compare the outcomes from one state to another. This data should be mandatory reading in high school civics classes too.

    • “Now consider that Vermonters pay the 4th highest taxes and the 2nd highest per student costs in the U.S., while fewer than half its students meet grade level standards. Other states, like Idaho for example, have similar student performance. But Idaho education costs are 1/3rd the education costs in Vermont.”

      That was very much the issue I had when I lived in VT. I fully understand taxes are needed for government services, My issue when I lived in VT was that my hard earned taxes dollars provided little value considering I was an un-subsidized tax payer. Meaning at the vary least I was in the 30% of taxpayers no getting a prebate on my property taxes. That subsidy happens to be the largest in the country bar none. So I certainly felt like I was getting a double hook to the chin. Knowing that the NEA runs the show in VT and tired of the poor return on my tax dollars, I along with my family and many of my college friends jumped ship. Some to other parts of New England but most either south or west.

      Highly skilled labor gone for good, along with their children who will not know what growing up in VT is like. This is the Government the folks in VT voted for.

      • You make a very important distinction between VT and, for example, NH.

        NH taxes are initially high, as a percentage of income, to lower wage earners. But NH offsets the disincentive with two important economic features.

        First, it provides the lowest minimum wage in the country incentivizing businesses to hire lower skilled workers AND TRAIN THEM.

        Second, and most importantly, as wage earners progress to higher income levels, the percentage of their earnings paid in taxes declines. This further incentivizes training and higher wages.

        VT, on the other hand, increases its minimum wage disincentivizing businesses to hire and train the poor souls graduating from its dysfunctional education system, it increases taxes proportionate to income (its what the term ‘progressive’ really means), and to top it off, annual VT social service subsidies (welfare, subsidized housing and food stamps) are roughly equal to earning about $40,000 a year. So who in VT wants to work for a living.

        This results with the indigent and untrained migrating to VT (4th highest taxed State in the U.S.) while the highly skilled and those motivated to be highly skilled move to NH (4th lowest taxed State in the U.S.).

  3. Again, we come in at the bottom of the list for both crime and violent crime yet every year we see the legislature waste WEEKS upon WEEKS chipping away at our 2nd amendment rights (solution in search of a problem we don’t have.) GDP is dead last but still we do everything we can to discourage , tax and regulate every kind of business imaginable. The lowest pupil-teacher ratio in public elementary is not reflected in our scores (not that I’m a fan of testing) and I notice the 11th grade scores – the most important ones for those about to head out into the world – aren’t posted. The ones at my school are abysmal at best, but what do you expect when you get raise after raise with no tie to performance. We still keep vying for #1 in the tax department though. I’m sure we’ll get there.

    • Re: “the 11th grade scores – the most important ones for those about to head out into the world – aren’t posted.”

      FYI – The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) stopped testing 11th graders last year. Clearly, the education monopoly is slowly but surely eliminating and dumbing down student testing, citing the propaganda hog-wash that ‘high stakes’ testing is antithetical to education success and student well-being. After all, if we didn’t have testing, we wouldn’t know just how big a rip-off Vermont’s public education monopoly really is. And that’s precisely what the AOE, and its teacher union puppet-master, want.

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