4-10-15 – Vermont And the Definition of Insanity

Posted by Rob Roper

The Vermont State Employees Union is running a radio ad asking Vermonters to attend a rally in hopes of convincing the legislature to raise taxes more than the $80 million or so in tax increases the House is going to ultimately to pass over to the Senate for consideration.

VSEU’s argument is that “something is wrong in Montpelier” in that since 2009 the middle class has been shrinking faster in Vermont than all other states but one (California – another state with supermajority left wing rule). They cite studies saying that since that time, income for the wealthiest 20% of Vermonters has increased by 3% while income for the middle class has decreased by 6%. Their answer: RAISE REVENUE!

Here’s what’s wrong with that argument. If the middle class has been getting hammered since 2009, and the gap between the rich and poor is widening, what’s happened over that time period to achieve such poor results? Well, 2009 was year the Democratic/Progressive supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature overrode then Governor Jim Douglas’ budget veto to go on a spending spree? 2010 followed with Peter Shumlin’s election to the governorship giving the liberal left in Vermont complete control over all leavers of state government. And, over this time period, Montpelier has raised revenue and increased spending significantly.

In 2009, total state appropriations were $4,439,369,923. For 2015, they are $5,592,162,894, an increase of 26 percent! General fund spending has grown from $1,144,778,770 to $1,439,922,691, an increase of 25.8%. And, human services spending has grown from $458,065,396 to $648,001,549, a 42 percent increase! (VTTransparency.org)

Perhaps it’s time to consider that the middle class is getting hammered in Vermont because we keep raising more and spending more revenue. Montpelier is taxing away the middle class’ money (higher income taxes, higher property taxes, higher gasoline taxes, higher electric rates, and now, perhaps a sweetened beverage tax and whatever else they think they can get away with), and taxing away their employers’ money with higher fees, expensive regulations, costly healthcare “reform”, and now a potential payroll tax on top of all that.

VSEU is right. The Vermont middle class has been taking a pounding since 2009. But the answer isn’t to continue on the path of taxing more and spending more. That’s what we’ve been doing to get the results we’ve got – and they stink! Isn’t that Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How ’bout we try doing the opposite.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jim bulmer April 10, 2015 at 9:12 pm

When the folks get tired of increased taxes, the clowns in Montpelier will start raising “fees”. As long as stupid Vermonters continue to reelect these pigs, the dance will NEVER end!!!!


John April 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

Just in one State Department alone: Personnel , the state spending increase is due to the new way Vermont does business. It use to be one central department approved employee positions and through a process selected eligible candidates. Vermont since migrated to a non-central personnel system. Today each department has a “Human Resource Manager” and several assistant workers. Departments used to just have a personnel officer who coordinated with the Personnel Department. Departments now create and hire at will with little or no scrutiny.


Doug Richmond, Underhill April 11, 2015 at 2:57 pm

If they need a mob to descend on Montpeculiar, all they need is 10% of the state’s
direct employees. 700+, That fills the statehouse lawn. Then if they get 10% of the contracted, tax supported workers paid from taxes but not on direct payroll, they will get another 700? to really overwhelm the place.
A ture tax more pay more MOB.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

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.

Latest News

VT Left Wing Media Bias Unmasks Itself

July 24, 2020 By Rob Roper Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a...

Using Guns for Self Defense – 3 Recent Examples

July 24, 2020 By John McClaughry  The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal last week published eleven news stories about citizens using a firearm to stop a crime. Here are...

FERC ruling on solar subsidies could help Vermont ratepayers

July 21, 2020 By John McClaughry Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finalized its updates to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), in what the majority...

The Moderate Left’s Stand for Free Speech

July 17, 2020 By David Flemming Harper’s Magazine, a long-running monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, is hardly what you would call a ‘politically...

Trump’s Regulatory Bill of Rights

July 16, 2020 by John McClaughry “President Trump [last May] issued an executive order entitled  ‘Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.’ The executive order includes a regulatory bill...