Keeping Vermont competitive will take team effort

There are 50 comments on the Brattleboro Reformer story from Mar 3, 2011, titled Keeping Vermont competitive will take team effort. In it, Brattleboro Reformer reports that:

Although born elsewhere, I have lived in Vermont for 45 years. Like most Vermonters, I love our streams and mountains, our small towns and farms, traditions, schools and outdoor sports.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Brattleboro Reformer.

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The Brattleboro Informer

Florham Park, NJ

#1 Mar 3, 2011
One of the better pieces I've read in the Reformer. I'll be interested to read the how to follow ups.
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#2 Mar 3, 2011
"A response one can hear from some is: "Let the wealthy leave, good riddance." But when this happens, Vermont suffers a loss of revenue that in recent years has not been made up with growth in business."
http://www.reformer.com/reformereditorials/ci... #

**********
Letter: For Vt. Yankee, health before wealth

This is in response to your "Comment and Debate: The future of Vermont Yankee" article on Feb. 15. I am on the opposing team and think that Vermont Yankee should be closed as soon as possible. Health before wealth, period.
GLENNA MURRAY
Burlington
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20...
**********

So what "team" are we talking about here? Glenna Murray has a slogan that is nifty, but falls short of the truth. How do you work with that?
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#3 Mar 3, 2011
"Frankly, we must care. In fact, according to State Auditor Tom Salmon, the private sector businesses have shown virtually no growth over the past 10 years while government growth has expanded by 70 percent over the same period. Growth skewed in this way is unsustainable, which becomes glaringly apparent when a downturn in the economy reduces the revenue the state is able to collect to support itself.
Hence, we are facing a daunting deficit of $150 million dollars and counting."

So who is team leader?
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#4 Mar 3, 2011
"Despite denial by some, our state's overall attitude toward business has been quite questionable for many years now. Our negative attitude is often subtle; the demonization of various businesses (insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, banks), false accusations of business owners or management of lying, our media condemning successful businesses, saying it is time to take some of their profits from them."

Ouch! Sometimes the truth hurts.
Moses

Dover, NH

#5 Mar 3, 2011
this Vermonter wrote:
"Despite denial by some, our state's overall attitude toward business has been quite questionable for many years now. Our negative attitude is often subtle; the demonization of various businesses (insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, banks), false accusations of business owners or management of lying, our media condemning successful businesses, saying it is time to take some of their profits from them."
Ouch! Sometimes the truth hurts.
The demonization occurs right here in the pages of the Reformer as they, like Obama, persist in calling people in business "fat cats" and "greedy".
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#6 Mar 3, 2011
Any excuse will do to hate government...Wall Street distroys our economy and yet this is another excuse to reduce regulation and taxes to the rich.
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#7 Mar 3, 2011
mike mulligan wrote:
Any excuse will do to hate government...Wall Street distroys our economy and yet this is another excuse to reduce regulation and taxes to the rich.
When the wealthy leave the state, doesn't it follow that those who understand how to create wealth leave too?
Greenbergthought s

Hoosick Falls, NY

#8 Mar 3, 2011
Eaton's basic thesis -- that Vermont's progressive taxes are chasing high income earners out of the state -- is a myth belied by the facts: were there any truth to it, we should expect that these folks would long ago have left for less-taxed climes, leaving fewer and fewer of them behind. The precise opposite is true: there are more now than in the past.

The tax commission writes: "All the Commission can say is that the conventional wisdom is not supported by the data. Furthermore, the Commission encourages Vermonters to abandon the discussion of what wealthy Vermonters are doing based on their taxes."

When you think about this, it makes sense for a good many reasons. First, the myth depends on a further myth: namely, that income tax is the only one paid. In fact, New Hampshire, which has no sales or income taxes, still needs to pay for its government and does so through taxes, just like every other government in the world. The question is NOT whether to pay for government, but HOW.

Second, very few of us base our most important decisions on tax considerations. Business entrepreneurs, especially, are smart enough to figure out that, if the top marginal rate is 8.95%, they get to keep the remaining 91.05% of the profit on which they're being taxed. From a strictly business point of view, it makes a whole lot more difference whether I'm in a place where I can generate that 90+% than whether I have to pay an extra 1 or 2% in income taxes. From a business as well as from a personal point of view, the decision about where to locate is far broader than mere income tax considerations.

Third, most businessmen are smart enough to figure out -- if this really IS their most important consideration -- that Vermont has a progressive income tax and New Hampshire doesn't. Why locate here in the first place? And why then is there no evidence suggesting that Vermont's economy drags while New Hampshire's booms? The situation Eaton describes, after all, has existed for decades. Surely, by now, we should be seeing economic disaster here in Vermont, and economic nirvana across the river. Why isn't this the case? We've conducted the experiment and it has not produced the predicted result.

In sum, Eaton's theory is simply wrong. It doesn't comport with the known facts. It has no rational theoretical basis, and in practice the predicted consequences have not followed from the hypothesized premise. Vermont taxes progressively because 1) it's a fair system and 2) that's where the money is. We should continue to do so.








FranklyInreply

Hoosick Falls, NY

#9 Mar 3, 2011
I don't think using the one sentence statement from the tax commission is good enough proof. The only people moving here are coming because they have got a job to come too. The people leaving are leaving because they don't have a job or are just starting out (our young people are leaving) or they are retired. Thus low income leaving but not necessarily high income, only higher income coming in. The report doesn't say how much people moving in are making so we don't know if they even qualify as rich. And they might not even know how high the taxes are in Vermont.

The truth is that we don't have a lot of wealthy people. Less than ever. Vermont has only 2.8% of it's families making over $200,000/yr. In NH it is 4.5%.

Anyone who knows about doing business in Vermont or NH knows that NH is business friendly. The evidence is everywhere that when choosing between Vermont and Nh businesses choose NH. Take a trip up Rte 5 in Vermont and then swing over to NH and travel down the highways on the east side of the Connecticut River. New businesses are everywhere in NH and no where in Vermont.

There is a myth in Vermont that is killing us....and that is that we are so special that we don't need to do anything but exist and we will attract the right kind of people who will conduct the right kind of business. It is a myth. No one is moving here who has any capital. People with capital and a good business choose other places because of the regulatory environment in Vermont and our highest in the nation taxes. People with capital can find beautiful places to live all over the US. Vermont is special but special places are also all over the US and a lot of them encourage business development and let you keep most of what you earn.



















this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#10 Mar 3, 2011
Greenbergthoughts wrote:
Eaton's basic thesis -- that Vermont's progressive taxes are chasing high income earners out of the state -- is a myth belied by the facts: were there any truth to it, we should expect that these folks would long ago have left for less-taxed climes, leaving fewer and fewer of them behind. The precise opposite is true: there are more now than in the past.
The tax commission writes: "All the Commission can say is that the conventional wisdom is not supported by the data. Furthermore, the Commission encourages Vermonters to abandon the discussion of what wealthy Vermonters are doing based on their taxes."
When you think about this, it makes sense for a good many reasons. First, the myth depends on a further myth: namely, that income tax is the only one paid. In fact, New Hampshire, which has no sales or income taxes, still needs to pay for its government and does so through taxes, just like every other government in the world. The question is NOT whether to pay for government, but HOW.
Second, very few of us base our most important decisions on tax considerations. Business entrepreneurs, especially, are smart enough to figure out that, if the top marginal rate is 8.95%, they get to keep the remaining 91.05% of the profit on which they're being taxed. From a strictly business point of view, it makes a whole lot more difference whether I'm in a place where I can generate that 90+% than whether I have to pay an extra 1 or 2% in income taxes. From a business as well as from a personal point of view, the decision about where to locate is far broader than mere income tax considerations.
Third, most businessmen are smart enough to figure out -- if this really IS their most important consideration -- that Vermont has a progressive income tax and New Hampshire doesn't. Why locate here in the first place? And why then is there no evidence suggesting that Vermont's economy drags while New Hampshire's booms? The situation Eaton describes, after all, has existed for decades. Surely, by now, we should be seeing economic disaster here in Vermont, and economic nirvana across the river. Why isn't this the case? We've conducted the experiment and it has not produced the predicted result.
In sum, Eaton's theory is simply wrong. It doesn't comport with the known facts. It has no rational theoretical basis, and in practice the predicted consequences have not followed from the hypothesized premise. Vermont taxes progressively because 1) it's a fair system and 2) that's where the money is. We should continue to do so.
That's odd, JohnGreenberg said the same thing at Reformer.com
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#11 Mar 3, 2011
this Vermonter wrote:
<quoted text>When the wealthy leave the state, doesn't it follow that those who understand how to create wealth leave too?
I could make a case they are so good at creating wealth for themselves they suck it out of the everyone else.
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#12 Mar 3, 2011
mike mulligan wrote:
<quoted text>
I could make a case they are so good at creating wealth for themselves they suck it out of the everyone else.
Will you be creating enough loaves and fishes to feed all of Vermont?
FranklyInreply

Hoosick Falls, NY

#13 Mar 3, 2011
mike mulligan wrote:
<quoted text>
I could make a case they are so good at creating wealth for themselves they suck it out of the everyone else.
The successful people I know make themselves and everyone who works for them wealthy. They work harder and longer and are willing to put their wealth at risk to succeed. People who don't want to work and are too cautious with their investments complain about the people who are successful.
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#14 Mar 3, 2011
That is the problem with the world we define ourselves as in only successful makers of money.

How about our troops...our men and women out in the battlefield doing somthing bigger for us...fighting to free people and create safety for us all.

Go stick your money up your ass.

There is a lot of people who are only out to create beauty...it is nothing to do with money.

I am feeding you your fishes and loaves...
FranklyInreply

Hoosick Falls, NY

#15 Mar 3, 2011
mike mulligan wrote:
That is the problem with the world we define ourselves as in only successful makers of money.
How about our troops...our men and women out in the battlefield doing somthing bigger for us...fighting to free people and create safety for us all.
Go stick your money up your ass.
There is a lot of people who are only out to create beauty...it is nothing to do with money.
I am feeding you your fishes and loaves...
Unfortunately making beautiful music doesn't pay for a home, college educations and retirement. I want to be able to save enough so at some point I can quit working and start being beautiful again.

In any case someone who chooses to just create beauty should not be critical of people who try to be successful at business. Unfortunately we have a lot of people who choose not to be ambitious criticizing people who do choose to work like dogs and be ambitious. They want them to pay more taxes just because they earn more money by working harder.
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#16 Mar 3, 2011
yep, so you want to create a state where a few people can in slave the many with little wages and no benefits.

It the type republican wedge issue, pit one group against another, then screw them all. You make people or talk people into voting against their interest.

NH grew up as mostly rich enclave, it is a bed room community of the Boston metropolitan area....NH would be a ghetto of Vermont if it wasn't for Massachusetts pushing the gold coast of NH. NH never did it on their own...
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#17 Mar 3, 2011
You are creating a false image based on a set of false statement and at best knowingly inaccurate.
this Vermonter

Fairlee, VT

#18 Mar 3, 2011
mike mulligan wrote:
That is the problem with the world we define ourselves as in only successful makers of money.
How about our troops...our men and women out in the battlefield doing somthing bigger for us...fighting to free people and create safety for us all.
Go stick your money up your ass.
There is a lot of people who are only out to create beauty...it is nothing to do with money.
I am feeding you your fishes and loaves...
I have no problem with people who want to create beauty (I write poetry myself) but you have to live with your choices. You seem to want it both ways, showing up at the market with a poem isn’t going to pay for a steak, and I shouldn’t be responsible for buying your porterhouse. You are going to have to settle for ground turkey. Not everyone is a Robert Frost, but the majoriety can hold a 9 to 5.
Mallory

Colchester, VT

#19 Mar 3, 2011
this Vermonter wrote:
"Despite denial by some, our state's overall attitude toward business has been quite questionable for many years now. Our negative attitude is often subtle; the demonization of various businesses (insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, banks), false accusations of business owners or management of lying, our media condemning successful businesses, saying it is time to take some of their profits from them."
Ouch! Sometimes the truth hurts.
I wish the hippies would pack up and go. Believe it or not, Vermont used to have a lot of respect for businessmen.
mike mulligan

Boston, MA

#20 Mar 3, 2011
this Vermonter wrote:
<quoted text>I have no problem with people who want to create beauty (I write poetry myself) but you have to live with your choices. You seem to want it both ways, showing up at the market with a poem isn’t going to pay for a steak, and I shouldn’t be responsible for buying your porterhouse. You are going to have to settle for ground turkey. Not everyone is a Robert Frost, but the majoriety can hold a 9 to 5.
It is in the figment of your imagination that you ever had to buy me a steak...but that is your excuse to demonstrate hatred to people in general.

It is a unjustified rationalization for hating a segment of the population.

It is a rule based hatred, you flip through these comfortable rules, these are the people who disserve what they get and these are the people like me. You judge people by a rules set instead of who they really are.

You really don't have a free mind....you just feel good following simple rules....

I wonder if entering the gate of Saint Peters...will it be a rules set that gets us into heaven.

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