By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record
Wallethub.com recently released their 2020 report “States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI.”
“Different states have dramatically different tax burdens,” the annual study explains. “This begs the question of whether people in high-tax states receive superior government services. Likewise, are low-tax states more efficient or do they receive low-quality services? In short, where do taxpayers get the most and least bang for their buck?”
The Return on Investment calculation looks at the overall tax burden and then grades the quality of the following government services: education; infrastructure; safety; health; violent crime rate; pollution; and economy.
The annual study gave New Hampshire rave reviews. The Granite State ranked No. 1 of all 50 states for taxpayer Return On Investment.
Vermont came in 42nd.
Overall, New Hampshire’s quality of government services was tenth-best nationwide. Their tax burden is least of all 50 states.
Vermont’s quality of government services is third-best nationwide. But the tax burden for Green Mountain is third-highest of all 50 states.
Other than the extraordinary disparity of tax burdens, the two states have quite a bit in common. New Hampshire ranks fourth in the country for the separate categories of “Health” and “Safety.” Vermont is second in the nation for “Safety” and fifth overall for “Education.”
Then there is one gigantic difference.
New Hampshire ranks eighth for strength of economy and Vermont is 35th.
“The trick is not just to pay more,” according to the New Hampshire-based Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy last year. “It’s to find the right balance between inputs and outcomes. The WalletHub report indicates that New Hampshire does an outstanding job balancing costs and services. Our neighbors? Not so much. To put this in scientific terms: LOL, Vermont.”
We can understand why people laugh at Vermont. It’s less funny if you’re stuck here trying to eke out an existence.
In Vermont, the annual state budget is around $6.1 billion for 625,000 residents. In New Hampshire, the annual state budget is also around $6.1 billion for 1.356 million residents.
Wallethub.com observes, “55% of U.S. adults feel they pay too much in taxes and why 90% don’t think that the government uses tax revenue wisely.”
If you’re a Vermonter in that 90%, you’d be 100% right.
Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record, where this editorial first appeared. He lives in St. Johnsbury.