1-27-16 – Cash for the Big Guys, Taxes for the Little Guys

by Rob Roper

What’s wrong with Vermont? Global Foundries, the semiconductor company owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that took over the IBM plant in Essex, gets a $1,000,000 check from the state through the newly established “Enterprise Fund.” This, on top of the $1.5 billion IBM gave the company to take over the facility.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s smallest and most vulnerable businesses are going to be hit with yet another Montpelier-imposed burden – mandatory paid sick leave. This is, in effect, a $14 million tax on employers who almost by definition can’t afford it.

Most businesses offer their employees some ability to take time off for illness or other family obligations without docking them pay. This is a good policy for attracting and keeping quality employees. Those that don’t overwhelmingly can’t. They don’t have to money, and are operating payroll to payroll.

In addition, the governor is proposing a new $17 million tax in independent doctors and dentists. Again, these are small businesses.

Let’s not forget the recent mandates for higher minimum wages.

It’s fine for Vermont to have an Enterprise Fund. There is value in being able to encourage employers to set up shop or to expand in special circumstances. But, where’s the support for small and mid-sized businesses in this state. Seems all they get from Montpelier is kick after kick in the teeth.

Vermont would be better off to abandon policies of government picking winners and losers and establishing a generally attractive economic climate for all businesses.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott McCullough January 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Mandatory sick leave, 1 hour accrued for every 30 worked, and talk of a carbon tax of approximately 88 cents per gallon . Are the trust fund baby’s in Montpelier trying to drive out all small businesses in Vermont ? Sure seems that way. New Hampshire is looking better all the time


Izzy Simons January 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

I don’t know what the $1mill for GF goes to, but this is common practice around the country. As for the carbon tax, there should be a federal one to be affective.
Mandatory sick leave for qualifying businesses is good for all along with raising to minimum wage. It’s good for the economy; gets people of federal subsidy, creates more demand. The goal is $15/hour. And for places like Wallmart, Dollar General and other corporate entities where pleasing share holders become all too important, there should be a minimum of 20 hours a week; either employees are worked 20 hours, or they are paid 20 hours.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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