Commentary

Commentary: A Legislative Wrap-Up for 2019

By John McClaughry The 2019 legislative session is now history, and it’s worth taking stock of its accomplishments, both positive and negative. On the plus side, the FY2020 general fund budget is balanced (up 3.1%), that is, it’s balanced if the $55 million FY2019 surplus projected last January actually shows up. The main reason for […]

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Commentary: Politicizing Our Kids and Rising Suicide Rates

By Rob Roper A month or so ago several national media outlets covered a study about spiking teen suicide rates. And not just suicide: “We found significant increases in major depression, serious psychological distress which includes anxiety and hopelessness and suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among teens and young adults with smaller, more inconsistent increases […]

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Commentary: Public Policy Informed by Science, Not Nixonesque Fear Mongering

May 10, 2019 By David Flemming Last fall, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) announced that it was considering adding new chemicals to Vermont’s Safe Product Act, a change that gives Vermont the chance to make its list of banned chemicals more scientific. Unfortunately, activists continue to demand blanket chemical bans, essentially stigmatizing chemicals before their effects […]

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Commentary: Sneaking In the Seat Belt Mandate

by John McClaughry The Vermont House is, for the seventh time over 37 years, trying to enact a primary seat belt law for over-18 drivers.  Worse yet, this time its backers are trying to slip their cherished bill through where it won’t be noticed. Fortunately, it’s been noticed.  Here in Q&A format is what you […]

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Commentary: Will Mandating a $15/Hour Wage Benefit Vermont?

By John Goodrich The legislature is working toward mandating a universal $15/hour minimum wage. I have been in a position to see the real effects of such a step. For many years I led a major St. Johnsbury manufacturing firm with as many as 300+ employees and as interim CEO at a St. Albans plant […]

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Commentary: Our Seriously Unserious Legislature (April, 2019)

By Rob Roper Recently the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce surveyed 500 young professionals, primarily Burlington area residents between the ages of 22 and 34, and learned that over 40% intend to leave Vermont. Why? The high cost of housing, the overall high cost of living, and the lack of upwardly mobile career paths. While the […]

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Commentary: From Heating Fuel Tax to a Green Police State (April, 2019)

April 23, 2019 by John McClaughry The House-passed heating fuel tax bill (H.439) is now in the Senate Finance Committee, but the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee is busy crafting its own version  (S.171). That version offers the same heating oil and propane tax increases approved by the House, doubling the rates to four […]

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Commentary: The Latest Big Idea: Taxing Heating Fuels (April, 2019)

by John McClaughry Last week the House passed a bill that raised taxes on the wrong people to support a worthy cause for, in large measure, the wrong reasons. Back in the 1970s Vermont’s community action agencies, created to wage the war against poverty, hit upon the idea of weatherizing drafty homes of low income […]

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Commentary: A Lot of Little (and Some Big) Taxes Add Up (April, 2019)

by Rob Roper Let’s say you run a small, struggling business in Vermont and, like many if not most, are operating on thin profit margins. If our legislature has its way, after this year you will have to pay your employees a higher minimum wage on the way to $15 an hour, devote time to […]

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Scrapping the Health Insurance Penalty Tax (March, 2019)

March 27, 2019 By John McClaughry             The House Health Care Committee has brought out a bill (H.524) that at best has nothing to recommend it, and at worst, would make Vermont’s health care situation worse for thousands of innocent people.             The main impetus for this bill seems to be the determination of Chairman […]

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About Us

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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Latest News

A Response to “Who’s Really Politicizing Our Kids”

June 13, 2019 by Rob Roper The following is in response to a letter that appeared in the Caledonian Record on June 10th by Steven Isham.  To the...

VPIRG’s Plastic Agenda

June 12, 2019 By John McClaughry The plastic bag ban is sitting on Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. If he signs it, Statehouse Chronicle writer Guy Page reports, a working...

The Blittersdorf Special

June 11, 2019 By John McClaughry Remember the Champlain Flyer? That was Howard Dean’s commuter train that ran 13 miles from Charlotte to Burlington. After three years’ operation...

Roll Call! Senate Blocks Amendment to Remove Insurance Innovation from Bill (7-22), 2019

S.131 – AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE AND SECURITIES (BARUTH AMENDMENT) FAILED in the State Senate on April 3, 2019 by a vote of  7-22  . Purpose: The Amendment called for removing...

California Prison Drugs

June 7, 2019 By John McClaughry Steven Greenhut, writing in the Orange County (California) Register, makes an interesting point about drugs in prisons. He quotes a San Francisco...

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