Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center in New Hampshire noted that New Hampshire’s Business Profits Tax rate was 8.5% in 2015, making it the third-highest corporate income tax in New England, after Maine and Connecticut.
At the July 26 meeting of the Vermont Climate Council, member Richard Cowart raised what he admitted might be “a thorny question.” Thorny or not, it was a very good one. It illustrates very clearly how government interventions in the free market, using carrots and sticks to influence people’s behavior in singular, predetermined ways can lead to disastrous conclusions.
Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, gave some harsh testimony to the Science and Data Subcommittee of the Vermont Climate Council Meeting on July 21. The Subcommittee was discussing how to calculate “economic analysis of the costs and benefits the costs of climate action” including the health impacts of various policies. The health costs of climate action are frequently brushed under the rug, as the health benefits are talked up.
Everybody from President Biden down to Gov. Scott is busy promoting electric cars as the major means of cutting down the 43% of Carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector. California wants all cars on the road to be electric by 2035.
A headline in VT Digger declares “Vermont wages well behind cost of rent, national study details.” First question: did we really need a study to tell us that? When politicians run on the issue of “affordability” at the top of the list of unaffordable items is housing. When companies say they have a hard time recruiting workers to come to Vermont, the obstacle usually at the top of the list is a lack of affordable housing for the potential employee.
I’m a believer in legislative bodies making reports to the citizens of what they have wrought in their just completed session. But last month’s report from Senate majority leader Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor Co.), struck me, in at least one important aspect, as indefensibly inflating two miniscule accomplishments.
Vermont has the 4th highest property tax rate in the country, at 1.76%, according to research from the Tax Foundation. We are second only to New Hampshire among the New England states, which has a property tax rate of 1.89% (New Hampshire however, has no income tax and no sales tax). We are one of only 4 states which don’t have place limitations on property tax hikes. Hawaii, New Hampshire and Tennessee are the others.
During the July 8th meeting of the Vermont Climate Council’s Cross-Sector Mitigation Committee, the group started to delve into some of the details of what “the plan” to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions might actually look like. In a nutshell, how you drive, heat your home, and heat your water are going to have to change. Needless to say, subsidizing multiple tens of thousands of Vermonters into electric vehicles, weatherizing many thousands of homes, and switching out existing heating systems for many more will cost a mountain of money.
The Vermont Tax Structure Commission’s Final Report to the legislature recommended the expansion of “the sales tax base to all consumer-level purchases of goods and services except healthcare and casual consumer-to-consumer transactions” (Report, page 7). Further, the Commission recommend that the legislature “use the gain from broadening the base to protect low-income Vermonters and reduce the sales tax rate to 3.6%” (Page 7). Put simply, Vermont can’t afford this.