Todd Smith: Taxpayer return on investment

By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record 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.

Todd Smith

Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record.

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. 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.

Images courtesy of Flickr/ and Todd Smith

3 thoughts on “Todd Smith: Taxpayer return on investment

  1. With all the pondering and legislative committee meetings in Montpelier, one has to wonder if anyone up there has ever considered or even wondered why the budgets in New Hampshire and Vermont are similar yet NH serves roughly TWICE as many folks??? Most likely not as they are too wrapped up in assing their feel good agenda. Will these folks ever get REAL and stop wasting our hard earned tax dollars on frivolous projects????

  2. Pretty sad…not sure the numbers are exactly right, but damn close. Welcome to Vermont….”Land of Kumbaya and Emotional Feelings”:

    “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.”

    If you want another really bad statistic….do this….add up the total number of houses for sale in Vermot, Maine and New Hampshir. You can get from by adding up counties. THEN divide houses for sale by population.. I haven’t done ths since last year…but the figure was just what you think…FAR more homes for sale, per capita, in VT than in ME or NH…. I’ll do the figures again in mid May….when houses are getting listed for summer season. This calculation of house “For Sale” per capita is a good leading indicator of what VT residents are thinking….they are either getting out…or downsizing.. And this statistic does not include many baby boomers who LEAVE VT for “six months and a day” to declare residency elsewhere, but still keep their VT house for 5.5 months a year….but face NO risk of VT income taxes. Just wait till VT starts talking about a WEALTH TAX…(on top of income and property taxes) just like they started to talk of that, to fund ShumlinCare! That is when VT goes “F\ull Communist”.

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