Moore: Vermont 49th in overall economic outlook

By Bill Moore

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a nonpartisan organization comprised of state legislators from both major parties and independents from across the country, located in Washington, D.C. According to its website, ALEC “provides a forum for experts to discuss business and economic issues facing the states.”

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

Recently, ALEC published its 11th Edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.” This annual index considers 15 strategic “policy variables that have a proven impact on the migration of capital — both investment and human — into and out of states. The end result of an equal-weighted combination of these variables is the 2018 ALEC-Laffer Economic Outlook rankings of the states.”

So how did Vermont fare in the latest edition? In terms of the “Overall Economic Outlook Rank,” the Green Mountain State came in 49th. It is not all bad news, however, and there are a few bright spots in terms of the items reviewed.

The “Economic Outlook Rank” is based on how the state compares when the fifteen state policy variables (SPV) are measured. We ranked No. 2 for “State Liability System Survey,” which is labeled as “tort litigation treatment, judicial impartiality, etc.” We are No. 3 for “Debt Service as a Share of Tax Revenue,” and No. 7 for “Sales Tax Burden” per $1,000 of personal income.

That’s the good news. Regarding the other rankings, we do not fare so well.

We rank 43rd in the “Top Marginal Personal Income Tax Rate” and 49th for “Personal Income Tax Progressivity.” We are also 49th in “Property Tax Burden.” In the category of “Remaining Tax Burden,” we come in at No. 47.

Likely as the result of Gov. Phil Scott and the General Assembly holding the line on increased taxes and fees in 2017, we came in 32nd for “Recently Legislated Tax Changes,” an improvement from 45th in 2017. We rank 39th for “Top Marginal Corporate Tax Rate.” In the category of “Number of Tax Expenditure Limits” we rank No. 34. This measure reflects the number of state tax or expenditure limits in place. It is a measure of a state expenditure limit, mandatory voter approval of tax increases and a supermajority requirement for tax increases.

Having a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour earned us 46th in that ranking. Our workers’ compensation rate of $2.02 per $100 of payroll earned us a 37 ranking. We pulled in at No. 47 for “Public Employees per 10,000 of Population.”

We are at the bottom, 50th, for “Estate/Inheritance Tax Levied” and “Right-to-Work State.” Both categories are somewhat misleading because the review only considered whether or not the state levied the tax and whether or not it is a right-to-work state.

Our overall “Economic Performance Rank is 38. This last category is important because, according to ALEC, “The Economic Performance Ranking is a backward-looking measure based on a state’s performance on three important variables: State Gross Domestic Product, Absolute Domestic Migration and Non-Farm Payroll Employment — all of which are highly influenced by state policy. This ranking details states’ individual performances over the past 10 years based on this economic data.”

What do these rankings mean? According to ALEC, states that tax less and spend less have a higher growth rate than states that do not. As the Vermont General Assembly begins its wind-down, we encourage legislators to think about the consequences of tax-and-spend policies as they look to ways of growing the state’s economy.

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

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12 thoughts on “Moore: Vermont 49th in overall economic outlook

  1. Why you folks punish yourselves remaining in Vermont is beyond me. All you’re doing is handing your hard earned dollars over to the Dems and Progs. You’re continuing to get kicked while you’re down. It’s a cheap shot over and over again. Just like in investing you can’t be emotional about it. Where you live, like it or not, is an “investment”.

    Here is a link to the 190 some odd pages of registered lobbyists in Vermont for this year:

    https://www.sec.state.vt.us/media/848009/photobook-5817.pdf

    By my count outfits like VPIRG, who want nothing but to control every aspect of your life and want to redistribute your hard earned dollars via a carbon tax have 27 lobbyists sitting in there . Sooner or later they are going to get their way.

    You have lobbyists like Charlotte Ancel who is the daughter in law of the one person who wants nothing more then to raise your taxes even more. Janet T. Ancel of Calais, Vt. (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/21/fashion/weddings/21calc.html) And what does Charlotte lobby for you might ask? Utility Issues, Taxes, Environmental Issues. She works for GMP, who would benefit nicely from a carbon tax such as the ESSEX plan. You connect the dots.

    When is enough, enough?

  2. CHenry, How do these clowns get reelcted is the quadry of the century. As long as flat landers are a amajority and “intended” residents are allowed to vote, nothing will change.

  3. Vermont 49th in overall economic, outstanding !! I assume that Montpelier will turn this into good news, that’s Liberal Thinking.

    We are ” Number One ” when it come to useless legislation , Gun Bills , Gender bathrooms
    and Pot legislation … this has been the agenda 2018. Not economic for the state.

    How do these clowns get elected?

    • Could this be the most important question to consider? If you can figure out how/why the Vermont electorate thinks the way it does, you’ll be that much closer to understanding the process and coping with it.

      Hint: The Vermont Public School Monopoly.

      “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.” Vladimir Lenin

      “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell, 1984

      When education autonomy disappears, so too does our freedom.

      • Jay,
        They are enamored with Bernie Sanders’ style socialism.
        Anything the state does is good
        Anything private enterprise does can be done better by the state.
        It worked in the USSR, China and Cuba.
        Why not Vermont?

        • Willem: I don’t presume to know what or how anyone thinks. I only know that, without School Choice, our freedom and liberty are in jeopardy. As abstract as it may seem, School Choice is where it can all be corrected, from lower property taxes, better performing students, a better work force and a
          resulting improved economy. It ALL starts with School Choice.

    • CHenry,

      The Vermont ranking used to be 44th about 5 years ago.

      Vermont has been going backwards due to Shumlin’s wasteful, crooked, crony Renewable Energy, Healthcare, Education and EB-5 policies.

      Shumlin vacationed in a NY City penthouse with his then girlfriend, courtesy of a well known EB-5 crook.

      Leahy got a free wedding for his daughter at Jay Peak Resorts from the same EB-5 crook, a $25,000 value.

      The mantra of the Dems and Progs is:

      Tax, tax ,tax, anything to fully funded, inefficient, dysfunctional, socialistic programs
      New fees and increases in fees
      New surcharges, and increases in surcharges

      Scare business and people away? You bet.

      • Willem wrote:

        “Tax, tax ,tax, anything to fully funded, inefficient, dysfunctional, socialistic programs
        New fees and increases in fees
        New surcharges, and increases in surcharges”

        So I ask, how much longer are you willing to endure it? None of us are getting any younger. Don’t YOU want to enjoy the fruits of your hard work? Or would you rather hand it over?

        • R Jorgensen,

          I am on SS and get to keep about 50% of what I make after Fed, state, and property taxes and SS healthcare premiums.

          • You make it sounds like that’s a good thing? At your income level there is no reason you should be paying 50% of what you make in taxes and fees.

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