Fun Facts | Economy | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Fun Facts 

Citations and annotations for Doug Hoffer's column about Vermont jobs

Editors' Note: In his column, "Is Vermont Really On the Job?" Doug Hoffer analyzes Vermont's economic development strategy. Got questions about Hoffer's stats? Here's where he got 'em.

1. Governor Douglas' State of the State: "As a result of our steadfast focus on economic growth, in the last five years, we've created 12,000 new jobs and our unemployment rate remains well below the national average." See http://governor.vermont.gov/speeches/state_of_the_state-1-10-08.pdf p.2

The Gov. was not referring to jobs but "employment", which includes self-employment. In addition, he used data from April 2003 to November 2007 - not "five years" (a little cherry picking). In fact, from the time he took office until November 2007 (latest data available when the speech was delivered), there were 9,700 more jobs (not 12,000) but only 7,500 net new private sector jobs. Since the context was economic development, it is misleading to include government jobs, which are not the focus of state job policy. And of course it would be odd for a conservative Republican governor to take credit for public sector jobs, especially when he's trying to eliminate 400 state jobs.

As for the unemployment rate, it's been below the national average for most of the last 30 years so it's tough to argue that the Governor's policies are in any way responsible.

2. State has spent $200 million on economic development: Two sources. First, Phase 9 of the Job Gap Study which estimated state & federal expenditures of ~ $40m per year.

See http://vtlivablewage.org/Phase%209.pdf pp.4-7.

Second, the Unified Economic Development Budget prepared by the Snelling Center for the Dept. of Finance & Management. See

http://finance.state.vt.us/Reports/Unified%20Economic%20Development%20Budget%202008.pdf pp.1-10. Note: The UEDB failed to include about $10 million in economic development expenditures.

3. State gained 7,000 private sector jobs from July `03 to Jan. `08: See VT Dept. of Labor, Current Employment Statistics; non-farm payroll, seasonally adjusted

http://www.vtlmi.info/CES.cfm?qregion=01000000&qyrperiod1=200801&qyrperiod2=200712&qyrperiod3=200307&qchg=numeric&qadjusted=1

4. U.S. rate of private sector job growth 6.9%: See

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost

5. $200 million =$28,000 per net new job - it will take over 20 years to get this money back in taxes: Assumptions - new job pays $24,500; single, renter; estimated state tax revenue per year = $1,183. $28,000 ÷ $1,183 = 23.7 years. See JFO Tax Study Vol. 2 p.5 & 44

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/Reports/2007-10%20Vermont%20Tax%20Study%20-%20Volume%202.pdf

6. The number of people in Vermont ages 18 - 64 increased by 23,759 from 2000 to 2006: See

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US50&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_QTP1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U (2000)

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?-ds_name=PEP_2006_EST&-qr_name=PEP_2006_EST_DP1&-geo_id=04000US50 (2006)

7. Almost half of all college students work: Bureau of Labor Statistics (CPS national data). See

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.nr0.htm

8. Estimated number of part-time jobs in Vermont (65,000 - 70,000): VT Dept. of Labor. See

http://www.vtlmi.info/CPS_ftpt.htm (latest data available)

9. A growing percentage of those 65 and older continue to work: For both men and women ages 65 - 69, there has been a steady increase in labor force participation from the mid-`80s until today. See Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics

http://www.agingstats.gov/Agingstatsdotnet/Main_Site/Data/2008_Documents/tables/Indicator%2011%20-%20Participation%20in%20the%20Labor%20Force.xls

10. VT labor market grew by 7,100 from Jan. 2005 to Jan. 2006: VT Dept. of Labor. See

http://www.vtlmi.info/labforce.cfm

11. Comparison of median annual wage: Multiply median hourly wage times 2,080 hours (FT). See

VT http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_vt.htm

NYC http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_35620.htm

Boston http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_71650.htm

12. Housing, energy prices, and taxes are all higher in NY and MA

Housing: HUD Fair Market Rents. See http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr/fmr2008f/FY2008_FMR_SCHEDULEB.pdf

Energy prices: U.S. Dept of Energy, EIA. See http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epa_sprdshts.html

Taxes: JFO Tax Study, Vol. 2. See

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/Reports/2007-10%20Vermont%20Tax%20Study%20-%20Volume%202.pdf

13. "The Governor has been dissembling" - VT is not the highest taxed state in the country: The Governor refers to aggregated data published by the Right Wing Tax Foundation). That is, they look only at total taxes paid per capita (or as a % of total income). That tells us nothing about the distribution of the so-called "tax burden". The only fair way to compare taxes across states is to have an accountant fill out tax forms for people in different circumstances (age, family size, own or rent, etc.) and at various income levels. That is exactly what was done in JFO's Tax Study (Vol. 2).

The study found that because of Vermont's progressive graduated income tax, our "tax burden" is right in the middle of the pack (often much lower than others, especially for those earning less than $100,000). In addition, the Governor's concern about Vermont's high top marginal rate is misplaced because the top rate doesn't even apply until the first dollar earned over $349,700. This is very unusual because the top rate in most states kicks in at $20,000 - $40,000. This makes a huge difference in the effective tax rate (taxes paid as a % of income).

Finally, although the JFO Tax Study did not address property taxes, Vermont is unique for its income sensitive education tax so we would undoubtedly look even better if this tax had been included in the analysis.

14. Previous legislative requests for performance data: 32 V.S.A. §307(c) and 10 V.S.A. §7.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Doug Hoffer

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Economy

  • Contest: Win $500 to Shop Locally for the Holidays
  • Contest: Win $500 to Shop Locally for the Holidays

    Vermont merchants have faced mandatory store closures and other challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many are open for business now and need your support — especially during this holiday season. Tell us where you’re shopping locally in person or online, and you’ll be entered to win a $500 gift card to the Vermont retailer of your choice (Seven Days Promotion)
    • Oct 19, 2020
  • Looking for Work? Meet Vermont’s Top Employers at Hire Up!
  • Looking for Work? Meet Vermont’s Top Employers at Hire Up!

    Considering a new career path? Want to get back into the field you love? It’s time to explore your options from a safe social distance. During each 40-minute session recruiters will explain what jobs they have available and what they’re looking for in an applicant. You can ask questions or just listen in. Attend one session or all — for free! (Paid Post)
    • Sep 21, 2020
  • Mascoma Bank Provided a Lifeline for Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center
  • Mascoma Bank Provided a Lifeline for Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center

    Burlington’s new $5.75 million Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center was almost fully constructed when the nonprofit ran into a financing problem: It was $1.7 million short. Executive director Owen Milne approached two banks and a credit union for help; they turned him down. Then he found Mascoma Bank. (Paid Post)
    • Sep 18, 2020
  • More »

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation