If Our Leaders Really Want More People To Move Here…

by Rob Roper

Columnist Michael Barone, who created and co-authors the Almanac of American Politics, has a great piece out today on the Census Bureau’s estimates of state populations and immigration patterns. Vermont gets a mention. It’s not encouraging, especially if our leaders are serious in their declarations about wanting to increase Vermont’s population in the near future.

Just three states lost population between 2010 and 2017. West Virginia led the way with a two percent decline, which Barone attributes to Obama’s war on coal, and Vermont is just behind with a one percent decline, which “can be chalked up to Woodstock-era migrants — Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean. They’ve liberalized the state’s culture and politics, so with the state’s high taxes and stringent environmental bans, no one is following.”

It’s an ironic slap, given that the Vermont Left loves to portray themselves and our state as the leaders everyone else will follow down this Progressive path. What we’ve really become is the cautionary tale in a public service announcement about failed state policies. “This is your state…. This is your state on Vermont-style politics…” Eeek!

Just FYI, the third state to lose population was Illinois at minus 0.3 percent due to “High and rising taxes, to pay for hugely underfunded public pensions….” There is a cautionary tale for Vermont here as well, as our unfunded pension liabilities are an underreported ticking time bomb.

So, who did well in attracting new citizens to their states? Or, if we’re serious about bringing in new Vermonters, whom we should be emulating? Texas and Florida led the pack with thirteen and twelve percent population increases respectively, attracting 5.3 million people in total to their states. Why? Says Barone, “No state income taxes, light-touch regulation, and resulting private-sector booms.” It’s certainly not the aesthetic or lifestyle. I’ve been to Texas. It is oppressively hot and not particularly attractive, unless you really like the color brown. Oh, and snakes.

Barone concludes, “The nexus between high taxation and domestic outflow is plain when you look at percentages.” Are our lawmakers paying attention? The governor is on the right track with “no new taxes and no new fees.” That’s still a far cry from no income taxes and regulatory reform, but it’s a step in the right direction in bending the culture curve. House and Senate leaders, however, seem intent on driving over the cliff Thelma and Louise style, prioritizing a $15 minimum wage and a new payroll tax to pay for a government-run, family leave insurance program so attractive on its own merits they have to force people into it.

It time for Montpelier to give up trying to find new things to do to attract new citizens, and start figuring out what it is they are doing that drives people away — and stop.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

SCOTT McCullough January 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm

If this State wants to attract people start with repealing the tax on retirement,allow people over 65 to stop paying the school tax,streamline act 250 to make it possible to start a business without taking 2 years for the permit process(if your lucky). Renewable energy is making the cost of power skyrocket, meanwhile the state wants more wind and solar, a carbon tax,and preschool, –spend-spend-spend


Ritva Burton January 6, 2018 at 12:39 am

This comment is right on! Folks in Montpelier need to start paying serious attention! Start living in the real world, not the dem/progressive pipe dreams!


William Hays January 6, 2018 at 2:55 am

I have to thank my lucky stars, every time my electric bill arrives. At $0.0685/kWh, in Montana, I think I nailed it. Our Dumbocrat governor is leading “The War on Coal”. He won’t last long, but will get a cushy position with the Sierra Club loons in CA.


Steve Hearne January 6, 2018 at 4:30 am

I’me still smoldering over the excessive vehicle inspection fee that most certainly affects those that can least afford it the most. This is to justify some over paid bureaucrats job in Montpelier. I am sure that person is driving a state owned vehicle burning state paid for fuel.


Mark Shepard January 6, 2018 at 5:16 am

Why should anyone expect a group of people who have the time to sit in legislative committees for a third to half a year to make laws the fit the needs of those who can not even dream of such an abundance of free time? I still maintain that the biggest issue in Vermont is the long sessions because it absolutely determines the type of people who make laws. And the only way that is likely to change is if there are “short-session” candidates running for nearly every house and senate seat. Having campaigned for three senate elections, it is thinkable that Vermont style person-to-person campaigning on this same issue, could flip things. Once there is a majority of legislators that understand the need for short sessions, then the many problems created over the past 2-3 decades can be addressed.

I did some research on this nearing the end of my time in the senate and have since parked that information here: https://www.markshepard.us/vermontershouse/index.htm


Fred January 9, 2018 at 9:58 am

I see Phil barking about how Vermonters can’t afford any more tax increases on
property, and he’s right. THAT”S why people are leaving. People that are retired, people seeking relief of a lifetime of trying to make ends meet here. Then he says free college for people in the reserves, I agree with that, you serve, education SHOULD be free. But then, he never said a word about how much we are about to get stuffed on the BS carbon tax about to pop up, under the guise of “cleaning up Champlain”, big tax on gas on top of already bloated tax on gas, so it makes it even harder for those that DON”T live under the bosses desk to get to work, and another big increase on tax for heating oil,,,,and they wonder why we are leaving ??? Just by moving out of here I can save 3K annually on property tax alone, I don’t know about you but 3K in my pocket is far better than in thiers.


George Brehm January 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm

How about stop subsidizing corporations that give bonuses to CEO’s and start only subsidizing 100% employee owned companies. Get rid of the “Use it or lose it” federal, state and local government budget policies. Export more of the great products Vermonters make like Switchback Beer !! As well as Rosemary Goat Cheese. I live in Maryland and i buy only Vermont Goat Cheese. Do more Organic Farming. Build Greenhouses. Vermonters are some of the most resourceful people and the fresh produce into the winter is amazing.


DAVID NELSON January 18, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Great article.


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