By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record
The American Legislative Exchange Council released its twelfth annual “Rich State, Poor State” review recently and Vermont continues to suffer one of the worst economic outlooks in the nation. It ranked 49 out of 50 for overall economic outlook. The Green Mountain state has finished last or second-to-last every year since 2008.
New Hampshire finished 16th, and continues to climb the chart.
“The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process. Generally speaking, states that spend less – especially on income transfer programs, and states that tax less – particularly on productive activities such as working or investing – experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more,” the report introduction explains.
Out of the 50 states, Vermont ranks as follows: Top marginal personal income rate of 8.75 percent is 43rd; Top marginal corporate income tax rate of 8.5 percent is 39th; Personal income tax progressivity (change in tax liability per $1,000 income) of $28.78 is 49th; Property tax burden (per $1,000) of $51.68 is 49th; Sales tax burden (per $1,000 personal income) of $12.29 is 7th; Remaining tax burden (per $1,000) of $27.21 is 48th; Estate/Inheritance tax is 50th; Recent legislative tax change (2017 & 2018 per $1,000 of personal income) of $0.22 is 25th; Public employees per 10,000 of 656.9 is 47th; State minimum wage of $10.78/hour is 43rd; Average workers’ compensation cost (per $100 of payroll) of $2.09 is 42nd; and Right to work (lack of) flexibility is 50th.
For collectivists, this is all good news. But a lot of talented, innovative job creators harbor a crazy notion that they should actually be allowed to keep some of their hard-earned wealth.
Unfortunately for Vermont, those job creators will continue taking their businesses to states that aren’t so hostile toward them. New Hampshire (which has long credited Montpelier for driving economic success in the White Mountains), continues to look great.
Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record, where this editorial first appeared. He lives in St. Johnsbury.