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Comment Archives: stories: News + Opinion: Economy

Re: “Why Vermont Nonprofits Lobby the Legislature That Funds Them

I am using this Website as a resource for a school project, and I need to wright a Annotation on how your source is credible. I have not seen any evidence that this source is credible so far.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jared Killian on 05/01/2019 at 1:03 PM

Re: “Why Vermont Nonprofits Lobby the Legislature That Funds Them

How is your source Credable? Can you please give me information to show that your source can be trusted?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jared Killian on 05/01/2019 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Some of Vermont's Highest-Paid Execs Run Nonprofits

That seems like a lot of money.

Posted by John Denner on 04/20/2019 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

Thanks for trying to understand my point of view. The full basis of my thinking is that we always seem to be focusing on the wrong things when discussing fiscal policy. We should be choosing the approach that results in the most prosperity for all citizens. Instead, we seem to want to punish rich people which could result in eroding the very tax base we talk about cultivating. Why can't we run experiments to determine where the best balance is? Why not identify key indicators that measure the affect various tax policies have on the state?
After all, I think all parties would agree that transfer of wealth should be about creating the best balance for our state. To just come up with some esoteric concept of fairness without discussing the effect that fairness has on the economic landscape of the state is what gets us in trouble all the time. Act 60 is the perfect example. Because our state has this judgmental view on wealth, it is blinded to data that has the answer. If the data doesn't support the fiscal policy chosen, it is either ignored, or cherry picked. That makes the lawmakers feel good, and maybe even the citizenry because it SOUNDS good, but the facts on the ground aren't good. We need to be free to analyze the data without being judged. Then a proper fiscal policy can be crafted. If the answer is a highly progressive system, then I would support it. But, I think logic dictates that when aggressively taxed, folks move. It's hard to believe that this isn't the case. So, I don't really trust our current group of lawmakers to handle data responsibly if it doesn't support their agenda.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by pcowanvt on 04/09/2019 at 11:50 AM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

DOUG HOFFER - you cite the ITEP data in a discussion about estate taxes, but it appears the ITEP data does not include estate tax figures in its analysis. Why did you cite it, if that is the case?

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Nate Awrich on 04/09/2019 at 11:16 AM

Re: “Vermonters Rattle the Virtual Tin Can to Kickstart Creativity

To push back gently on the idea that Kickstarter has under-delivered in its promise to support new artistic voices without big recognition, high level stats are:

Across all categories on Kickstarter, 16 million people have backed a project on the site, making 52 million pledges. Of the 16 million who have backed a project, 5.2 million have donated to more than one campaign. Overall, Kickstarter backers have pledged 3.7 billion ($4.15bn) in funding for over successful 160,000 creative projects.

By far most successful projects are funded in the $1,000-$10,000 range; the average donation being $25-50. The projects being funded are not predominantly "big name" creatives either; they are folks who hustle for every dollar, many failing the first time and dedicating better resources (time and talent) to working social media channels and audience engagement to achieve success. While most Kickstarters still fail, their 37 percent success rate are good ones to beat.

In a recent talk at a games conference, a senior Kickstarter spokesperson noted that there had been 16,700 successful game projects alone, which in total had received 3.2 million backers.

The lesson? Kickstarter is also where you go to *build* your audience, not just harvest from them.

Games data:…
Kickstarter data:

Posted by PabloX on 04/08/2019 at 1:57 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

The latest ITEP report (6th edition) shows that Vermont is getting closer to a progressive system than it was in all ITEPs previous reports.…, p. 123 of pdf. And I confess I was relying on the older figures (less progressive by far) in making my remarks. See, e.g the previous edition:…, p. 124.

To avoid confusion, I will cite the actual figures given by ITEP (6th ed.), which are categorized as follows: the lowest 4 quintiles of income are given as quintiles, the top quintile is divided into the 15% of incomes (between 80 and 95%), the next 4% and the top 1%. The percentages of family income that each of these groups pays in ALL Vermont taxes (state and local sales & excise, property taxes, and income taxes) are 8.7%, 9%, 10.1%, 9.1%, 10.4%, 10%, and 10.4% respectively..

Compared to other states, these figures are more equal than most, but more equal is not equal any more than 8.7 = 10.4.

As to progressivity, the new figures do show that the tax structure is now more (and largely) progressive, but not entirely so. In particular, those with incomes of $39,100 to $59,500 pay a LARGER percentage of their incomes in taxes than those with incomes of $55,500 to $94,000 or those with incomes of $196, 000 to $460,100 and only very slightly less than those with incomes of $94,000 to 196,000 and those with incomes greater than $460,100.

Ill leave it to readers to decide whether this is the best, fairest system we Vermonters can devise.

While its better than most, and better than it was, in my view its still not good enough.

Mr. Hofer can speak for himself if he wishes to.

1 like, 6 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 04/08/2019 at 12:23 PM

Re: “The Vermont Community Loan Fund Supports Values-Based Investing

Great article on the Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF)! The Flexible Capital Fund, L3C is proud to partner with VCLF to help finance innovative businesses in Vermont that are making positive change in our communities. One note, like VCLF, the Flexible Capital Fund is also a Community Development Financial Institution, providing flexible risk capital to growing companies who support low to moderate income jobs.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Janice St Onge on 04/08/2019 at 10:48 AM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

Mr. Greenberg: To answer your question, you'll have to ask ITEP (Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy). It's their statement. Not mine.

Of course, then you'll have to reconcile the ITEP report with Auditor Hoffer's remark that "The top 1% pay just about the same percent of income for all state & local taxes as the middle class."

On the other hand, we could go with your 'opinion' of what is 'grossly unfair' ....or not. But if you "...favor an overall system in which as incomes and assets rise, the rate of taxation does also...", no worries. Thats the system we have now.

So, what's your point?

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jay Eshelman on 04/07/2019 at 3:01 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

Jay Eshelman concludes his otherwise accurate summary of ITEP's report by saying "But in Vermont, at least, its equal."

How is it "equal" if, in Mr. Eshelman's words, "taxpayers in the top 1 percent are left with a higher percentage of their pre-tax income to spend ... than low- and middle-income taxpayers?"

Let's not get hung up descriptive terms like "regressive" or "progressive." The nub of the issue is this: Should high-income Vermonters pay the same proportion of their income in taxes as everyone else, less (as currently) or more? Call any of these systems whatever you want. Which one should we be aiming for as a polity?

Here's my 2 cents. The current system cannot be justified by ANY approach to political ethics or morality that I've ever heard of. For precisely this reason, there is tremendous opposition to the tax burden from Vermont's middle classes, who not coincidentally, pay the highest burden.

One definition of fairness -- in my estimation, a pretty minimal one -- is that everyone pays the same, regardless of their needs and resources. But as noted, we are NOT achieving even this minimal standard, despite an income tax structure which requires those with higher incomes to pay higher marginal tax rates.

But again in my view, such a minimal system is grossly unfair in a society in which income inequality is as rampant as ours. It's undemocratic, discourages many kinds of hard work, and in our economy which is highly dependent on consumer spending, retards economic growth.

Consequently, I favor an overall system in which as incomes and assets rise, the rate of taxation does also.

1 like, 12 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 04/07/2019 at 12:41 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

According to ITEP, if taxpayers in the top 1 percent are left with a higher percentage of their pre-tax income to spend on their day-to-day living and to save for the future than low- and middle-income taxpayers, the tax system is regressive and receives a negative tax inequality index score.

Vermont ranks 49th. In other words, high wage earners pay a higher portion of their income in Vermont than in every other state except California and the District of Columbia.

While many of you think this is a good idea (its less 'regressive'), its clear that Vermont's tax structure is a disincentive for the high income demographic to live here. As Winston Churchill said, "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

But in Vermont, at least, its equal.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jay Eshelman on 04/06/2019 at 5:11 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

pcowanvt said, "Our tax policy sends the message that we want to have power over the rich and take them down."

That is simply not true. The top 1% pay just about the same percent of income for all state & local taxes as the middle class. You've been fed a bunch of baloney.

4 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by Doug Hoffer on 04/06/2019 at 3:26 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

PC Cowan wants an experiment, ignoring the fact that we've had one going on for decades. It has completely disproved the hypothesis that high tax rates cause high-income and high-asset folks to leave the state. So has virtually every study ever done on the subject elsewhere. From a scientific point of view, whether or not we have a correct theory, it's pretty safe to say that we "know" that this hypothesis is false.

In the case of income taxes, we have also experimented with higher and lower marginal tax rates. For example, current rates are LOWER than they were in 2009. If you can show that there has been a difference in the inflows and outflows of these individuals, please do so. Otherwise, we've done the experiment with income taxes.

The other problem with your proposal is that lowering or eliminating these taxes would leave a gaping hole in VT's budget. Assuming you're not planning to provide the funds yourself, please tell us exactly what spending you would cut or what other tax you would raise to make up for the lost tax revenues. If you want legislators to take your proposal seriously, then make a serious proposal.

Finally, in a world where income inequality has steadily increased (both before AND after taxes), your proposal would exacerbate the problem.

If you don't think it IS a problem, consider this. It's well understood that as incomes rise, spending decreases as a percentage of income. "Rich" people spend proportionately less and save proportionately more as their incomes rise. But US GDP (and I assume VT's as well) depends heavily on consumer spending. Lower taxes for higher income people results in LESS economic growth, which is precisely what we've see in the US since WWII.

2 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 04/06/2019 at 10:46 AM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

This report cites an 8 year old study, using 30 year old data in some cases, to address a current issue. How about this 2018 report from the CATO Institute.

"The raw data suggest that taxes do influence migration. Of the 25 highest-tax states, 24 of them had net out-migration in 2016. Of the 25 lowest-tax states, 17 had net in-migration. The largest out-migration is from high-tax New York, whereas the largest in-migration is to low-tax Florida."…

And the IRS data on total Vermont migration indicates that in 2015-2016 there were 9505 inflow tax returns and 10,520 out flow tax returns. The net outflow was 1015 for just one year. After all, high taxes affect everyone.…

22 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jay Eshelman on 04/05/2019 at 6:11 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

I spent 35 years operating a moving company in Chittenden County. The high tax rates in the State of Vermont contributed to our revenues by motivating people to seek less taxing venues. I can assure you high tax rates DO motivate people to move out of the State. There were some years I was tempted to send flowers to the legislators expressing my gratitude.
My comments may be anecdotal but my experience is not. Pat Robins speaks the truth - uncomfortable as it is.

35 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John Dupee on 04/05/2019 at 5:15 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

@pcowanvt - I'm trying to understand your point of view. So, how much benefit have you personally received from trickle down? It seems as if you oppose taxing the wealthy based on their ability to pay. So here's the thing, in my view: we already don't tax the income challenged based on their inability to pay and now it seems that you are suggesting that we dont tax the wealthy based on their ability to pay. How exactly do you think that will benefit the middle class? I believe that we're already taxed at a higher percentage of our income than any other group when you factor all the write offs that the wealthy have traditionally been able to take advantage of . So if we're not taxing the poor and we're not taxing the rich, how exactly is that going to help those of us in the middle class? Do you honestly think that the wealthy are going to dump the amount they aren't being taxed into the local economy and that's going to "trickle down"? Further, you seem to be suggesting that we cut spending. I'm on board with that but exactly what programs do you suggest cutting? Should we become a state like Alabama or Mississippi and get rid of most services for the sake of much lower taxes? Do we become a state like Kansas and institute massive tax cuts to the detriment of all state services including education? As I said previously, I think our "progressive" tax system is for the birds and am on board with creating a new tax system that more fairly taxes people but I'm really not sure what that would look like.

1 like, 14 dislikes
Posted by Roy on 04/05/2019 at 1:17 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

It would be so easy to run an experiment over 5 years that would show statistically which strategy works best. We have the data for the gouge strategy for the last 5 years, so why not try the welcoming strategy for 5 years? I want to live in a state that accepts all socio-economic levels instead of pitting one group against the other. We should be asking what type of State we want to be. Our tax policy sends the message that we want to have power over the rich and take them down. Why would they want to stay? Or come in the first place? I'm certain that there are fiscal policies that would send a kinder message but would maintain the standard of fiscally responsible. How come we aren't, instead, scrutinizing how our tax dollars are spent in the first place instead of assuming we need to gouge the rich to pay for what we are currently spending? And, I'm not rich, so I can't be superficially labeled as having self-serving motives instead of seeing things in a balanced, rational way.

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by pcowanvt on 04/05/2019 at 12:50 PM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

So, Scott and Samson both want to cut taxes for the wealthy. Considering that they are both Republicans, is that terribly surprising? This is just more of the "trickle down" horse crap that Republicans have been shoveling for years even though decades of living under trickle down has not produced the promised results.
Given that both Phil Scott is a millionaire and Kaj Sampson isnt exactly poverty stricken, one has to wonder exactly how much self dealing is behind their push to give the wealthy a big tax break.

All that being said, Vermont's "progressive" tax system is for the birds. How about going back to the drawing board and drafting a tax scheme that is fair for everyone?

1 like, 37 dislikes
Posted by Roy on 04/05/2019 at 8:18 AM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

Two issues here, first, every state has a spending problem! Taxes are not the issue it how badly the states manage the tax dollars they get.
Second, Paul Cillo is a fool. Every state that has high taxes is seeing the rich leave. There is nothing free and the state and federal governments need to realize this and better manage the money they steal from us that produce.

32 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Edward McGrath on 04/05/2019 at 7:59 AM

Re: “Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?

My wife and I moved from Florida to Vermont last year, six years after I retired. We are, sadly, not rich enough to be at risk from the inheritance tax, but we were well aware that our property taxes and income taxes would be higher here. (Our car and house insurance costs are lower.) We had lots of reasons for the move, but one big one was that we expect the Florida economy to collapse in the next 20 years from the effects of climate change. We have no confidence whatever that Florida state government will effectively address preventing or mitigating the effects of climate change. Also, Florida is not just a low-tax state, it is a low-services state, and that will be more important to us as we get older.

16 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Richard Hopkins on 04/05/2019 at 12:18 AM

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