JohnGreenberg | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

JohnGreenberg 
Member since Dec 28, 2012


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Re: “Let’s Talk Affordability: Parsing Scott's Favorite Word

Mr Greenberg I have to ask, how many of these magical million plus unicorns do you think there are?

According to the Joint Fiscal Office, there were 493 returns filed in Vermont in 2015 with incomes over $1 million, though none were filed by unicorns. There were another 1148 filed by taxpayers with AGI over $500,000 and another 2786 with incomes between $300,000 and $499,999. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/publication…, p. 54 of pdf

These figures have varied slightly over the years since 2000, but not a huge amount.

These numbers include ONLY Vermont income tax filers. As you appear to be suggesting, its almost certainly the case that there are many more folks in these income classes who do NOT file VT income tax.

As to making them file, I am not suggesting any change in the law. On the other hand, since you bring it up, there may be more than a few out-of-state folks with Vermont income who by law are supposed to be paying VT income tax on that income. If there has ever been any attempt to enforce that (as there is in other states), I have never heard about it.

It is always worth keeping in mind that, at these income levels, actual income is often higher (sometimes considerably higher) than AGI. Anyone filing either a Schedule C or a Schedule E has considerable access to business deductions which reduce gross income, as well as municipal bonds and other tax-free investment vehicles.

Any analysis of income in VT, in the US, and in the world will reveal that these high-end income earners have garnered the lions share both of income and of profits in the last 4 decades.

In short, thats where the money is.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/14/2018 at 10:50 AM

Re: “Let’s Talk Affordability: Parsing Scott's Favorite Word

It is rather odd to have a discussion about "affordability" without any recourse to a discussion of income inequality in Vermont (and elsewhere).

Hard to say, but I'm guessing that Vermonters with incomes over $1 million per year do NOT find Vermont "unaffordable." Indeed, at an income of around $910,000 after all Vermont taxes are accounted for, one can guess that these folks are hardly scraping by.

There is anything wrong with having a high income, and that's NOT why I raise the question here. The question is affordability and these folks are clearly NOT tapped out; they CAN easily afford to pay a bit more in taxes. They can even afford to take some of the tax burden off of their compatriots who are less fortunate than they.

But those who keep reciting the "affordability" mantra somehow find themselves incapable of looking at where the money in Vermont actually is.

14 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/10/2018 at 12:28 PM

Re: “Walters: Trump Tax Changes Stump Vermont Analysts

The changes in deductions and exemptions can be easily bypassed by basing VT income taxes on federal AGI (adjusted gross income) instead of federal taxable income, as the Blue Ribbon Tax Commission suggested several years ago. Since there were changes to the "adjustments" as well in the federal bill, it probably would be even better to use gross income and then specify all adjustments, deductions, etc. according to Vermont needs and wishes).

That wouldn't solve all the problems, but it would eliminate quite a few.

19 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/06/2018 at 11:35 AM

Re: “On Technicality, Sanders Delays Tax Bill's Passage

"Wasn't Obamacare passed without a lot of hearings so people could read what was in the bill per Pelosi?" No, it wasn't. There were countless hours of hearings, televised on C-Span (I watched dozens of hours myself -- quite interesting, actually) which included many amendments from Republicans who didn't support the bill.

The Pelosi bill refers to the final senate version, which at the time of her poorly-phrased remark, was still changing: In the fall of the year, Pelosi said today, the outside groups...were saying its about abortion, which it never was. Its about death panels, which it never was. Its about a job-killer, which it creates four million. Its about increasing the deficit; well, the main reason to pass it was to decrease the deficit. Her contention was that the Senate didnt have a bill. And until the Senate produced an actual piece of legislation that could be matched up and debated against what was passed by the House, no one truly knew what would be voted on. They were still trying to woo the Republicans, Pelosi said of the Senate leadership and the White House, trying to get that 60th vote that never was coming. Thats why [there was a] reconciliation [vote] that required only a simple majority.
So, thats why I was saying we have to pass a bill so we can see so that we can show you what it is and what it isnt, Pelosi continued. It is none of these things. Its not going to be any of these things. She recognized that her comment was a good statement to take out of context. But the minority leader added, But the fact is, until you have a bill, you cant really, we cant really debunk what theyre saying....
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan…

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 12/21/2017 at 12:40 PM

Re: “Courting Canada: Can Gov. Scott Lure Businesses South?

I would be interested in seeing figures for the number of jobs created by Canadian companies in Vermont during the tenures of past governors and then compared to this one.

This is being reported here as some major sea change, when my impression is that MORE jobs were created under past administrations than this one. Perhaps I'm mistaken. I'd love to see the numbers.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 12/14/2017 at 1:02 PM

Re: “Sound and Fury: Wind Foe Unleashes Blast of Rhetoric

Albert Rogers makes a lot of assertions here. Ill confine myself to 2.

1) I lumped nuclear power with fossil fuels because New Englands plants are aging out fast and the probability that a new one will be built in New England is close to zero for a host of reasons. So even of nuclear power is a wonderful source (which I dont believe), nukes wont be a realistic source of new power in New England for many decades, if ever.

2) The construction of a 300 MW wind farm requires about 300 MW of gas turbine backup, This is off by a factor of approximately 2 orders of magnitude: One of the misperceptions about wind power generation is that the air emission reduction benefits are extremely limited because of the need to provide backup fossil fuel generation. Some commentators have asserted that each new wind plant requires an equally large addition of backup generation from a dispatchable power plant, such as a fossil fuel-fired plant. However, wind integration studies contradict this view. Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) emphasizes that the need for additional operating reserves (both spinning and non-spinning reserves) to maintain system reliability will likely be modest for wind plants that are broadly distributed over a geographic area. The review cites two major recent studies that indicate that the addition of 1,500 MW and 3,300 MW of wind (15% and 10%, respectively, of system peak load) increased reserve requirements by only 8 MW and 36 MW, respectively, to maintain the same level of reliability (under performance standards enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Council). (http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/42616.pd…, p. 21 of the pdf; Ive omitted the footnotes.)

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 10/30/2017 at 6:12 PM

Re: “Sound and Fury: Wind Foe Unleashes Blast of Rhetoric

Albert Rogers makes a lot of assertions here. Ill confine myself to 2.

1) I lumped nuclear power with fossil fuels because New Englands plants are aging out fast and the probability that a new one will be built in New England is close to zero for a host of reasons. So even of nuclear power is a wonderful source (which I dont believe), nukes wont be a realistic source of new power in New England for many decades, if ever.

2) The construction of a 300 MW wind farm requires about 300 MW of gas turbine backup, This is off by a factor of approximately 2 orders of magnitude: One of the misperceptions about wind power generation is that the air emission reduction benefits are extremely limited because of the need to provide backup fossil fuel generation. Some commentators have asserted that each new wind plant requires an equally large addition of backup generation from a dispatchable power plant, such as a fossil fuel-fired plant. However, wind integration studies contradict this view. Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) emphasizes that the need for additional operating reserves (both spinning and non-spinning reserves) to maintain system reliability will likely be modest for wind plants that are broadly distributed over a geographic area. The review cites two major recent studies that indicate that the addition of 1,500 MW and 3,300 MW of wind (15% and 10%, respectively, of system peak load) increased reserve requirements by only 8 MW and 36 MW, respectively, to maintain the same level of reliability (under performance standards enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Council). (http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/42616.pd…, p. 21 of the pdf; Ive omitted the footnotes.)

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 10/30/2017 at 11:26 AM

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