August 10, 2016
Heading Into General Election Season, VSEA Members Reminded To Openly Question Candidates Who Voice Some Of These Tired Myths About Vermont:
Myth: Vermont has more state employees per capita than other northeastern states.
Reality: Vermont has very little county government structure, which means state employees have to pick up the slack. It’s not a fair apples-to-apples comparison.
Myth: Vermont young people are leaving the state in droves.
Reality: From a July 15 VPR story: “According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, nearly as many young people are moving to Vermont as those leaving, dispelling the popular notion that Vermont is losing young people in droves.”
Myth: Taxes are killing Vermont small businesses.
Reality: From an April 2016 article “The State of Small Business: Vermont”: “Entrepreneurs in Vermont may have to contend with a tight labor market and an elevated cost of living, but they also have access to strong, entrepreneurial communities and operate within a stable economy. And while recruiting new talent within the state can be a challenge, small business owners in Vermont are often easily able to attract people from out of state because of Vermont’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Small business owners in Vermont are generally content with the direction in which the state’s economy is heading.”
Myth: Tax breaks to corporations to do business in a state will result in more revenue for states.
Reality: The state of Arizona subscribed to this theory, but they are quickly learning a painful lesson, according to an April 2016 Tucson Sun story. From the story: “Legislative budget staffers said Arizona collected $663 million last year in corporate income taxes. Had the tax laws stayed the same, even with economic changes, the state still would have brought in $644 million by the 2019 budget year. But members of the state’s Finance Advisory Committee figure that cuts in the tax rate approved in 2011, coupled with a provision that allows some multi-state corporations to choose an alternate method of computing what they owe, means actual collections that year will be less than $300 million.”
Myth: Vermont suffers from an affordability crisis, and it’s pushing people out.
Reality: Maybe, but not due to affordability, at least not according to a February 2016 comprehensive survey of all 50 states and Puerto Rico by the group Corporation for Enterprise Development. It rated each state on things like financial assets and income, businesses and jobs, education and housing, and Vermont placed first in the country overall, meaning, with all group’s factors averaged, we come out on top.
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