9-11-15 – “Alps” Coffee Roasters?

by Rob Roper

A couple of weeks ago we learned that America’s favorite cookie, Nabisco’s Oreo, was moving to Mexico. This week we learned that Vermont’s favorite coffee is moving its purchasing operation to Switzerland. In both cases, it’s the smart thing to do, and in both cases our anger should be directed not at these companies, but at the politicians who put the policies in place that drove these companies out.

In the case of the Oreo, they are reacting to protectionist, anti-free trade tariff that ensures we in the U.S. pays twice as much for sugar than the rest of the world.  Kurig Green Mountain, with it’s move from the Green Mountains to the Alps, will avoid the U.S.’s 35.4% corporate tax rate – the highest in the industrialized world – and pay the Swiss tax of less than 10%. Now, in either case, who in their right mind would do exactly what these folks did? Nobody is going to sit there and pay two to five times more for a product that the market says it’s worth.

Critics are calling Nabisco and KGM unpatriotic or greedy for not paying “their fair share.” More accurately, these companies fled an abusive relationship. Yes, our corporate citizens (in fact, all citizens) have an obligation to support the necessary and reasonable activities of government through taxes. On the flip-side, however, governments have a responsibility to create a tax and regulatory environment that will attract and keep businesses of their own free will because it allows them to prosper. On that score, our politicians are failing.

And, before some of you get on your high horses about greedy corporations, consider a recent story from WCAX about New Hampshire liquor stores hitting a record year for sales. New Hampshire, of course has no tax on alcohol, while Vermont levies a $0.27 per gallon excise tax on beer, a $0.55 per gallon tax on wine, and a $7.68 per gallon tax on liquor. The results: “Alcohol sales contributed $152 million in revenue to the Granite State’s General fund this year. That compares to $23 million in Vermont.” New Hampshire has only about twice the population of Vermont, and state officials estimate that 50% of New Hampshire liquor sales are cross boarder sales.

That’s you, Vermonters! pulling your own small-scale version of Oreo and KGM. So, Are you refusing to pay your fair share? Or are you refusing to be ripped off?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Hudson September 12, 2015 at 1:08 am

Good tax article explaining this Legislative and Executive abuse of the power to raise taxes. Income taxpayers, businesses near New Hampshire, the elderly and too many of our youth have fled Vermont because of the tax burdens. If the policy makers do not catch onto this migration soon, they will have left us with a playground for only the rich & famous. As he late Gov. Dick Snelling once said, “…sooner or later people in Vermont need to make some money.” And now, they need to keep more of it. PFH


Gary Viens September 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

Each and every day if you care to, look around and you will find Life long Vermonters throwing in the towel and moving to States without state income taxes. This trend will continue until we stop this tax and spend mentality. The time is now to band together and change our course, to make Vermont affordable for all INCLUDING THE MIDDLE CLASS.


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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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