by Rob RoperRob Roper

Vermont property taxpayers are in the pot like the boiling frog from that old analogy. For over a decade we have been following the goal of the VTNEA and their allies in Montpelier to expand the public school system by two years to include three and four-year-olds. The next steps in this long-term play are underway right now.

First, a brief history of how we got to where we are today. In 2006, the legislature passed Act 62, which make “Universal Pre-K” for three and four-year-olds eligible for funding by property taxpayers. This was sold as a voluntary program for school districts, and public schools mostly partnered with “qualified” private childcare businesses to provide 10 hours of “quality” childcare per week.

In 2013, the voluntary aspect went away when the legislature mandated that all school district must provide access to those 10 hours of pre-k whether they want to or not (Act 166). And, by this time, more public schools started to forget about those private partnerships and put programs into their own buildings.

Then, in 2014 Vermont got a $33 million federal grant (Hooray, free money!) to support full day pre-k programs for four-year-olds. A Vermont Digger article notes that one such program “includes meals, transportation and access to art, music, gym and library.” Sounds like whole other grade of school, doesn’t it?  The grant pays for everything except the 10 hours per week Vermonters are mandated to cover under our own law.

But here’s the catch (and we bet you saw this coming)…. The federal money goes away after four years. So, Vermont property taxpayers, get out your wallets! The lobbying campaign already begun. As Digger explains:

The Joint Fiscal Office has not yet researched the impact of a change to the weighting system for pre-K students [from .46 to 1.0] on the education fund. Mark Perrault, a fiscal analyst for JFO, said the change would likely lower the per pupil spending rates for towns that offer full-time pre-K. Towns that don’t offer full time pre-K would have higher per pupil spending rates, and under the education yield formula, would end up absorbing the cost in higher local property taxes for towns that do provide full-time pre-K, he said.

So, the districts that don’t offer this program get to pay for those that do, until this perverse incentive (accompanied undoubtedly with cries for “equity”) drives everybody to implement the program, at which time everybody has to pay. If there are any holdouts, no doubt Montpelier will repeat history and make the program mandatory.

Keep in mind that the $33 million grant (average $8.25 million per year) only covers pilot programs in eight supervisory unions and a half a dozen or so individual school districts. That’s about $1 million per supervisory union per year. There are currently over 60 supervisory unions in Vermont. Do the math! And then, of course, you can double that price when they inevitably move onto the next phase of adding three-year-olds into the mix.

The propaganda campaign pushing for this is in full swing. Two articles in Vermont Digger, Early Education Survey Highlights Public Private Differences, and Education Board Asked to Offer Fix for Concerns About Pre-K Law speak to the point. The first article basically trashes privately run childcare facilities, citing statistics from a poorly participated in survey such as,

Nearly 80 percent of Vermont’s public school survey respondents hold higher degrees, with 23 percent having a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or a related field and 45 percent holding a master’s in the subject. In contrast, the majority of family providers have a high school degree or a GED, while 23 percent of respondents said they have some college.

Who wants to send their kids to a childcare center run by poorly educated, poorly paid unsophisticates? Forget the fact that before Vermont kids had widespread access to these “high quality,” public-school-run pre-k programs and small, home based childcare was pretty much it, Vermont kids actually scored better on benchmark tests when they reached the fourth grade than they do now.

The second article is perhaps even more alarming. The Speaker of the House, Shap Smith (D-Morristown), has asked the State Board of Education to investigate and recommend fixes to the Vermont’ universal pre-k law. According to the article:

The main concerns are that some working and impoverished families can’t take advantage of the vouchers the state provides for 10 hours a week of pre-kindergarten for every child, because they can’t pay for the rest of the week.

Families may also lack transportation to get their children to a center or pick them up after the voucher hours and move them to day care for the rest of the workday.

Yup. Ten hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k is not enough. We need forty hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k to make it “fair.” It doesn’t take a preschooler to figure out exactly where this is going. Or where the money’s going to come from. You!

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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by Rob Roper

The pro-Carbon Tax PR offensive continues, and it appears all tactics are on the table. Vermont Watchdog reports that several names of businesses used by Energy Independent Vermont in support of what would be a half billion dollar a year levy on gasoline, home heating fuel, etc. were not legitimately obtained. Many of the businesses cited as supporters of the tax, in fact, do not support it and never signed onto the EIV petition.

One example cited by Watchdog:

Shari Voghell, owner of Corner Frame Shop and Gallery in Randolph, said she didn’t know her business was on the list until Watchdog contacted her Tuesday. “I’m not sure these two (canvassers) were the ones that got our business on the list, but I don’t recall giving permission to use our name,” she said.

This comes after it was revealed that the names of several Vermont citizens were similarly misused in a November press conference in which the names of constituents supposedly in support of the Carbon Tax were mailed to their representatives.

A recent Op-Ed by Newt Garland, a prominent Carbon Tax advocate, that is now making the rounds says the goal of the tax is to “First, reduce personal consumption. Second, convince others to reduce consumption. Third, convince the power structure to adopt and institute policies that make consumption of fossil fuels uneconomic to users.”

Think about that. Their goal is to make driving to work, heating your home, transporting goods and services, etc. “uneconomic.” And then they say this will somehow be good for the economy?

Garland cites Dr. James Hansen, whom he calls “perhaps the nation’s most pre-eminent climate scientist,” to lend credence to claims that a Carbon Tax is necessary to save the planet. Ironically, back in 1988, Hansen predicted that in 20 years, “’The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,’ Hansen claimed. ‘And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change….’”

Nope. In 2008, when Hansen’s prediction should have come to fruition, Manhattan was still there (still is), and it is still populated with pigeons. And yet it is these same people who want to sue “climate deniers” for fraud? That is the definition of irony.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

 

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John McClaughry

Rep. David Sharpe (D-Bristol), the engineer of the Act 46 school consolidation bill, penned an op ed on Vermont Digger on April 27. Says Sharpe, “Act 46 explicitly prevents the state from requiring towns to close schools or relinquish tax-funded tuition programs at any grade level.”

At first glance, that is arguably true. But the unsaid part is the problem.

Act 46 says, in effect, “You can keep your tuition town choice if you want. Act 46 doesn’t make you give it up! Of course if your voters merge your tuition town into a state-approved unified district that offers K-12 education, your school district disappears. Your kids are now at the mercy of the multi-town unified district board, whose predominant concern will be to require your kids to attend the unified district’s existing K-12 system instead of slipping away to the schools that their parents prefer.”

“You say you don’t want to merge? Well, we’re giving you the chance, and the tax incentives, to get you to see it Our Way. If you don’t take Our offer by 2019, the Secretary of Education will put your kids where they belong, whether you like it or not, and that will be the end of your silly tuition town business. Serves you right.”

I could – with some effort – have some respect for Sharpe if he would come clean on this, instead of denouncing “misrepresentations” that are usually closer to the mark than his own.

Act 46 resulted from property tax outrage, but instead of lower property taxes, Shap Smith and David Sharpe gave taxpayers the Education Establishment’s long sought consolidation mandate, and they happily consigned tuition town school choice to the receptacle for Great Errors of the Past.

 – John McClaughry is the founder and vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

 

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by Rob Roper

A couple weeks ago we wrote about a VT Digger article highlighting the fact that a $33 million federal grant that is allowing eight supervisory unions in Vermont to implement full day, public school preschool programs for four year olds is set to run out of money in three years. The machine is already laying the groundwork to make sure when that money fountain goes away the Vermont property taxpayer will get saddled with the bill going forward.

This week the propaganda war continued with two more Digger articles: Early Education Survey Highlights Public Private Differences, and Education Board Asked to Offer Fix for Concerns About Pre-K Law.

The first article basically trashes privately run childcare facilities, citing statistics from a poorly participated in survey such as,

Nearly 80 percent of Vermont’s public school survey respondents hold higher degrees, with 23 percent having a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or a related field and 45 percent holding a master’s in the subject.

In contrast, the majority of family providers have a high school degree or a GED, while 23 percent of respondents said they have some college.

Who wants to send their kids to a childcare center run by poor, poorly educated trash? Forget the fact that before Vermont kids had widespread access to these “high quality,” public-school-run pre-k programs and small, home based childcare was the norm, kids actually scored better on benchmark tests when they reached the fourth grade than they do now.

The second article is perhaps even more alarming. The Speaker of the House, Shap Smith (D-Morristown), has asked the State Board of Education to investigate and recommend fixes to the Vermont’ universal pre-k law, which mandates all school districts make ten hour of “high quality” preschool available to all three and four year olds who wish to access it. According to the article:

The main concerns are that some working and impoverished families can’t take advantage of the vouchers the state provides for 10 hours a week of pre-kindergarten for every child, because they can’t pay for the rest of the week.

Families may also lack transportation to get their children to a center or pick them up after the voucher hours and move them to day care for the rest of the workday.

Yup. Ten hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k is not enough. We need forty hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k to make it “fair.”

To recap what we’re being fed here… privately run childcare providers stink and parents really should be looking to better paid, better qualified public school systems to proved pre-k services. Ten hours of “free” preschool isn’t fair for poor parents because the rich can afford to pay for more than that if they want or need to. And, these full-day, public school, pre-k programs are already being tried out in a handful of supervisory unions and, hey, let’s get real, you’re not going to take these programs away from anybody. That means, the only option is to expand the programs for everybody! Because equity.

So, let’s do the back of the napkin math here. The federal grant is $33 million over four years and is funding programs in 8 supervisory unions. That’s about $1 million per supervisory union per year. There are currently 63 supervisory unions in Vermont. And then, of course, you can double the price when they inevitably add three year olds into the mix.

The legislative session will end in a couple of weeks and your representatives will come home to hit the campaign trail, no doubt spewing rhetoric about how hard they are working to keep down your property taxes. In a family friendly word, baloney.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

 

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By Rob RoperRob Roper

Vermont Business Magazine (VBM) wrote about some good news for a Vermont economy that has otherwise been pretty moribund for several years. The bright spot is our tech industry. As the VBM article points out, “Vermont’s tech sector makes up a quarter of the state’s workers and 40 percent of its wages, and generates higher pay and faster job growth compared to the state’s overall economy.”

That’s great, but it’s still a growing slice of a shrinking economic pie. In other news, this week saw the publication of the 9th Edition of Rich States, Poor States, which ranked Vermont’s economic outlook as 49th in the nation based on our tax and regulatory environment. Yes, this is just one ranking, but whether Rich States, Poor StatesForbes, the Tax Foundation or one of the other ranking organizations, Vermont consistently performs badly in these things. On the other hand, we do extremely well in rankings that score quality of life.

The challenge for our legislature is (or rather should be) to marry that high quality of life with economic policies that foster growth and prosperity. In other words, instead of settling for a Vermont that’s a great place to live if you can afford to live here, we should be striving to be a great place to live that is also a great place to earn a living.

One opportunity to move in this direction would be to pass the Independent Contractor bill (H.867), which passed out of the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on a unanimous tri-partisan vote of 11-0. This legislation, in a nutshell, makes it easier for individuals to work as independent contractors rather than as direct employees, and it clarifies the laws surrounding independent contractors so that employers and employees can easily comply with the law without worrying about penalties and fines.

This bill would help bring the state into line with the new realities of the 21st Century economy in which many people are creating their own jobs in rapidly evolving marketplaces. We have all witnessed the rise of the sharing economy with companies like Uber, AirBnB, eBay, Freelancer, etc. These platforms are generating billions of dollars worth of economic growth.

Allowing individuals to operate more easily and independently as entrepreneurs is not just a positive economic policy, but also one that caters to lifestyle. Workers, particularly young people, are no longer looking for a forty-year career with a single company. They change jobs regularly, and are more interested in finding jobs that allow them to pursue rewarding lifestyles outside of work. Vermont is (or rather could be given some imagination and leadership) perfectly situated to take advantage of these trends.

Which brings us back to that good news about Vermont’s tech sector. An industry that is dynamic, constantly changing and exploring new directions is perfect for attracting and growing independent contractors who do coding, graphic design, marketing, accounting and finance for small, start-up companies that are not ready to bring on large numbers of full time employees.

These are good paying jobs in growth businesses. So, why did the Speaker of the House recently declare the Independent Contractor bill essentially dead? The same sclerotic, old-economy special interests that have earned for Vermont that 49th in the nation for economic outlook ranking circled the wagons and killed the bill in the House. But hope still exists for progress in the Senate before this session ends and our incumbent politicians head off to the campaign trail asking for our votes for what? More of the same economic stagnation?

Here I will confess a guilty pleasure for the Discovery Chanel’s show Naked and Afraid, in which two people are dropped in some wilderness landscape with nothing but a single survival tool each and the challenge to stay alive for three weeks. Every show features at least one scene in which these folks struggle to build a fire. They work mightily to generate one small ember, nurturing it with all the care imaginable in hopes of turning the small spark into a sustainable flame. Here we have that spark with our Tech industry, and the legislature, rather than lovingly blowing on it and feeding it dry grass and twigs, is playing the role of monsoon clouds on the horizon.

The House blew it. Let’s hope the Senate has more sense.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org). He lives in Stowe. 

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by Rob Roper

Happy Earth Day! As Vermont celebrates this environmental holiday by industrializing our ridge lines and pasture lands with wind and solar electricity generation factories, a friend reminded me of a prediction made by our governor nearly ten years ago:

Any reasonable scientist will tell you that we’re going to rise anywhere between another two and three degrees in the next 30 years. That means that New Jersey’s climate is moving to Vermont in the next decade. That has tremendous implications in our economy’s ski, maple-sugar making, leaf-peeping and the list goes on and on. So we are, ­I at least am,­ looking at this with a major sense of panic. – Peter Shumlin, April 2007

Here we are nine years later. Are we New Jersey? Though we’ve certainly experienced a warmer than usual winter in 2016, let’s not forget that the previous two years were record breakers for Vermont’s ski industry, and last Fall was the best leaf-peeping season in memory. This chart on snowfall puts things in perspective…

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.34.11 AM

So, let’s just put Shumlin’s prediction up there with Al Gore’s prediction that the polar cap would be gone by 2014. It’s still here. Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted in 2000 that there would be no more snowfall in Britain as of 2010. It still snows there. Dr. James Hansen, who headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for three decades was asked predicted in 1988 that in 20 years, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water, and there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change….” Nope. Nearly 30 years later Manhattan is still there, and is still populated with pigeons.

The list goes on.

The sad reality is that Vermont’s “green” policies are doing more to damage our environment — harming water quality, killing birds and bats, disrupting habitats and migratory corridors, and cutting trees – and are doing absolutely nothing to save the Earth.

While there’s no denying the climate by its very nature changing and is in a constant state of flux, the people peddling “solutions” at great financial and ecological cost, clearly don’t have a real understanding of what their talking about. We can safely make that assertion based on their track record of failed predictions. So, on this Earth Day, let’s embrace policies  won’t damage Vermont’s landscape, habitats and “brand” for no reason or benefit whatsoever.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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by John J. Metzler

UNITED NATIONS—The modern day barbarians have been routed from the ancient city of Palmyra, but the destruction left in the wake of the nearly year long Islamic State occupation has been near catastrophic. After five years of conflict, war torn Syria sees the fruits of limited cease fires allowing observers to gaze upon a near apocalyptic humanitarian and physical landscape.

That’s why the liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra is key; signaling a significant setback for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL) and hopefully now a turning point from wanton destruction to the eventual restoration and preservation of Syria itself.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated clearly, “Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.”

Yet UNESCO’s Director Irina Bukova warned, “The deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime, and UNESCO will do everything in its power to document the damage so that these crimes do not go unpunished.”

After ISIL captured Palmyra, it turned to destroying archaeological sites such as two 2,000 year old temples, the Arch, and turning the Roman amphitheater into an execution ground. ISIL claims such pre-Islamic structures are idolatrous and should be smashed and sacked.

Following the occupation, Maamoun Abdulkarim, the Syrian antiquities director, advised 80 percent of the UNESCO World Heritage site nonetheless remains intact.

Beyond its hateful political ideology, ISIL has spread a noxious anti-cultural logic that it must destroy the legacy of pre-Islamic civilization. Thus when ISIL seized Mosul in Iraq, it trashed the famed Museum and later sent its demolition teams to blast the storied ruins of Iraqi civilization. And the same in Syria. Blasting, bulldozing and looting art treasures from the past and in some cases allowing more portable objects to enter the global antiquities black markets.

Such damage is not unique. In Afghanistan in the Spring of 2001, the Taliban’s Islamic extremists targeted age-old Buddhist statues in Bamiyan. The world watched in horror but did nothing as the Taliban thugs blasted statues dating from the 7th century AD into oblivion.

Such cultural barbarism is not unique to the Middle East. During China’s so-called “Cultural Revolution” between 1966-1976, Red Guards, the self appointed watchdogs of the communist new order, burned books, Buddhist sutras and trashed religious Temples all in the name of Chairman Mao. In the spring of 1966, the mindless terror which led to opposing the “Four Olds” of China’s civilization was unleashed by the paramilitary Red Guards.

The Washington D.C. based “Antiquities Coalition” created a map of Culture Under Threat to highlight the threat to sites such as St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq, Palymra and the Mosul Museum. The map lists 700 heritage sites throughout the 22 states of the Arab League, 230 of the sites, which have since been destroyed.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, offered interesting views on the recapture of Palmyra by the Syrian army backed by the Russians. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson called Bashir Assad a “vile tyrant” but added “the victory of Assad is a victory for archaeology, a victory for all those who care about the ancient monuments.” Johnson called for the top notch expertise of British archeologists to help restore this ancient city known as “the Bride of the Desert.”

Beyond ISIL’s cultural barbarism we see the humanitarian disaster unfolding inside Syria.

Addressing the Security Council, Stephen O’Brien the UN’s Humanitarian Chief spoke of the slightly improved situation in light of the ceasefire. Yet, “Many of the 4.6 million people in need in besieged and hard to reach areas still remain outside our reach to insecurity and obstructions.”   Essentially, the UN relief has reached only about a third of the nearly five million people internally displaced inside Syria.

Treating Syria’s humanitarian symptoms remain admirable, but the political Problem must be solved.

Though some quarters may question if Palmyra’s liberation from Islamic State by the military forces of the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad should be celebrated, the facts favor this positive development. The Assads at their worst never ruined or wrecked ancient Roman and Greek treasures scattered throughout the country. On the other hand, Islamic State policy is to deliberately desecrate, destroy and loot pre-Islamic treasures. Moreover, a century from now who will remember this evil ruler, but all will still cherish millennia of civilization which stand as silent testament to Syria’s ancient heritage.

- John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues   He is the author of Divided Dynamism The Diplomacy of Divided Nations: Germany, Korea, China.

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by Matt Cota
The Vermont Fuel Dealers Association does not support an increase in the Fuel Gross Receipts Tax. While low oilheat and propane prices have resulted in less revenue for the Weatherization Trust Fund, there are a basket of solutions that can backfill the funding shortfall. Some of these solutions have already been added to H.873 as approved by the House. For instance, the Weatherization Trust Fund will receive $900,000 in FY17 by requiring energy companies to pay Fuel Gross Receipts tax faster by filing the FG-601 tax form on a monthly rather than quarterly basis. The measure also eliminates the ability for fuel companies to ask for a rebate on the Fuel Gross Receipts Tax. Based on refunds of the GRT received in 2015, this would add an additional $92,383 for low income Weatherization Trust Fund.
Unused fuel assistance money is also available. The same reasons for the loss in GRT revenue has resulted in an excess of fuel assistance funds. Thanks to the warm winter and low oilheat prices, the state has only distributed $14.8 million, about 78% of the $18.9 allocated by the federal government for FY 16. Federal LIHEAP rules allow 15% of the state block grant to be used for low income weatherization. Vermont is not among the 44 states that use federal LIHEAP grants for weatherization. This represents up to $2.8 million in FY16 and $2.6 million in FY17 based on Vermont’s federal LIHEAP grant allocation.
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In addition, since the Office of Fuel Assistance does not have a process for reducing benefits to recipients that have had their home weatherized or reduced consumption through other methods, the state continues to overpay some fuel assistance recipients. If the “Plan to Advance Coordination of Fuel Assistance with Weatherization” as proposed in 2015 was implemented, it would provide an additional $200,000 a year to the Weatherization Trust Fund.  Since this coordination is not in place, heating fuel dealers will return fuel assistance funds that were not used by low income Vermonters to the state on May 31, 2016. Given the warm winter and low prices, this could amount to more than $500,000. Furthermore, there are other opportunities to reduce the administrative cost of LIHEAP and weatherization. As disclosed in House Appropriations Committee and the House Committee on Human Services this year, 18% of fuel assistance money is spent on administration.
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What would a tax increase cost?  At $2.65 a gallon, 3/4% fuel gross receipts tax would amount to 2-cents per gallon. At $4 a gallon 3/4% fuel gross receipts tax would amount to 3-cents per gallon. Keep in mind, the tax applies to all consumers. It is paid by residential heating customers, businesses, farms, schools, churches, and towns. It is applied to every sale of dyed diesel used to power construction equipment, generators, tractors, school buses, and plow trucks. There are no manufacturing, municipal, or non-profit exemptions.
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- Matt Cota is executive director for the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association. This piece was first presented as testimony to legislators in the State House.

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by John McClaughry

A forthcoming e-book by authors Mike Conley and Tim Maloney excerpted on the left wing Daily Kos website argues that wind and solar power plants are much worse for the environment than previously recognized … because they require natural gas backup.

Wind and solar plants produce far less energy than promised, and in the current energy environment natural gas is the primary “supplement” for renewable power generation.

They write, “A thousand megawatt solar farm with a 23 percent capacity factor is actually a 770-megawatt gas plant enhanced by 230 megawatts of sunshine.” The wind plants and solar plants being built today are really natural gas plants, they say. They acknowledge natural gas produces less than half the amount of carbon dioxide as coal and is less polluting than even the cleanest coal plants. However, natural gas plants produce methane, which has significantly higher “global warming potential” than carbon dioxide. They speculate if the natural gas leakage rate were to more than double, reaching 4 percent, using natural gas to supply electricity when wind and solar are offline is the same, from a greenhouse gas perspective, as using a coal-fired power plant….

Conley and Maloney say nuclear power is superior to other sources for carbon-dioxide-free electricity generation. They write, “Nuclear is even more reliable than coal, and it’s carbon-free. … While contamination is serious stuff, fear and paranoia are the two most common forms of radiation sickness.”

The most important point: if you’re worried about runaway climate change – or if you’re not – stop subsidizing wind and solar and go nuclear.

- John McClaughry is the founder and vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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by Rob Roper

The 9th edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index is out with some happy revelations about “a pro-growth trend across the nation for 2016.”

Well… not all the way across the nation. Vermont ranked 49th for Economic Outlook, and 39th in State Economic Performance from 2004-2014. Vermont has been consistent in this analysis, as we have ranked 49th every year since 2009, except 2013 when we were dead last at 50. If there is a silver lining here it’s that the record shows we have not preformed quite as badly as this particular formula predicted would.

Here are some highlights from the subcategories of rankings:

  • Top Marginal Personal Income Tax Rate (8.95%) – 44th
  • Property Tax Burden ($52.35 per $1000 of personal income) – 48th
  • Sales Tax Burden ($12.81 per $1000 of personal income) – 7th
  • Remaining Tax Burden ($29.03 per $1000 of personal income) – 48th
  • Recently Legislated Tax Changes ($2.62 per $1000 of personal income) – 46th

To see the full report, check out the link HERE.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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Latest News

4-29-16 – Proponents Will Say/Do Anything to Get Their Carbon Tax

by Rob Roper The pro-Carbon Tax PR offensive continues, and it appears all tactics are on the table. Vermont Watchdog reports that several names of businesses used by...

4-20-16 – Sharpe’s  Misrepresentations

John McClaughry Rep. David Sharpe (D-Bristol), the engineer of the Act 46 school consolidation bill, penned an op ed on Vermont Digger on April 27. Says Sharpe, “Act...

4-25-16 – Pre-Property Tax Increase Propaganda….

by Rob Roper A couple weeks ago we wrote about a VT Digger article highlighting the fact that a $33 million federal grant that is allowing eight supervisory unions...

4-22-16 – Earth Day: Environmental Predictions Fall Short

by Rob Roper Happy Earth Day! As Vermont celebrates this environmental holiday by industrializing our ridge lines and pasture lands with wind and solar electricity generation factories, a...

4-21-16 – Palmyra Freed; Syria Still Threatened

by John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS—The modern day barbarians have been routed from the ancient city of Palmyra, but the destruction left in the wake of the nearly...

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