By now everyone has read the economic travails of states like California, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon. Defaults, massive debt, junk-bond status, mounting pension obligations, cruddy education and crumbling infrastructure. Each are suffering the fallout from decades of failed tax-and-spend Keynesian experiments.
Very sad. But do you know who's worse off than all of them?
According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Green Mt. State ranks 49th, for economic outlook, on the Economic Competitiveness Index for all 50 states (only New York is worse). By comparison, New Hampshire is in the middle of the pack, in 28th place.
To get this bad, a state really has to work at it. Vermont ranks: 45th in top marginal personal income tax (8.95 percent); 35th in top marginal corporate income tax (8.5 percent); 49th in personal income tax progressivity (change in tax liability per $1,000 of income); 49th in property tax burden ($52.61-per-thousand); 47th in "remaining" tax burden ($27.51-per-thousand); 50th for estate/inheritance tax burden; 44th for number of public employees-per-ten-thousand (646.9).
On the bright side, our sales tax burden (6 percent) is less onerous than 41 other states and we aren't yet a right-to-work state (though the various public sector unions are working hard to rectify that). Also favorable is our debt service as a share of tax revenue (7.1 percent - or 14th out of 50 states).
Worse than the figures is the perception that Vermont is, for all practical purposes, anti-business.
Why? Because on top of the aforementioned burdens, the state's ruling liberal class continues to pile it on.
Socialist health care. Renewable energy at any cost. Billions in unfunded promises to our teachers and public workers.
The warning signs are everywhere. To ignore them demands either wanton ignorance or willful disregard. Either way, Vermont's day of reckoning for decades of failed public policy will soon be upon us, unless we chart a dramatic new course... and soon.