Yes, let’s get the facts straight

Posted by Jack Hoffman on January 12, 2011 at 11:11 am | * Comments (4)

It’s not clear why former Vermont Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn wants to run from the notion that Vermont offers tax credits to businesses that create new jobs. In a recent letter to the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, Dorn criticized both the newspapers and Public Assets Institute for saying Vermont had a tax credit program. Read more

Vermont Property Tax Ranking: Mystery Solved

Posted by Jack Hoffman on October 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm | * Comments (13)

You may have heard it said recently that Vermont has the highest property taxes in the country. The source of the information was Northern Economic Consulting, which seems to be the only organization that gives Vermont this dubious distinction. Not even the anti-tax Tax Foundation, which does three different calculations, puts Vermont at the top of the list. Read more

The People vs. the Bean Counters

Posted by Paul Cillo on October 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm | * Comments (2)

Balancing the 2012 budget will be tougher than anything the administration has had to deal with during this recession. If Montpelier uses the same “manage to the money” approach it’s been following so far, however, Vermonters will be out of luck. Read more

Did tax cuts really help create jobs?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on September 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Comments Off on Did tax cuts really help create jobs?

As Congress debates the extension of the Bush tax cuts, it’s a good time to look at what we got for the money we gave away. It’s a lot: an estimated $2.5 trillion by the time the cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. Read more

Cutting school budgets could get expensive

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm | * Comments (10)

As the opening day of school approaches, local school officials gear up for the next budget season, and some campaigning politicians continue to insist that education is a luxury we can no longer afford, Vermont parents and others might like to get a glimpse of the future by reading a recent New York Times article. Read more

Fiscal Facts: A Key to Better Policy Debates

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm | * Comments (2)

It may be too late for this year’s August primary elections, but for the general elections, Vermont’s political parties might want to collaborate to create fiscal fact kits for all of their candidates. It could help voters become better informed, and perhaps prevent candidates from making promises they can’t or shouldn’t keep. Read more

Budget cuts should start with what’s not working

Posted by Jack Hoffman on August 3, 2010 at 9:43 am | * Comments (5)

One criticism of the budget-cutting Vermont has done in recent years is that money and personnel have been reduced, but the mission has remained largely the same. There are fewer state employees, who have less money to spend, but they’re expected to do the same job. Read more

Challenges for Change has a familiar ring

Posted by Jack Hoffman on July 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Comments Off on Challenges for Change has a familiar ring

After the early fanfare for Challenges for Change, the government reform plan proposed last session, legislators quickly discovered that the devil, indeed, was lurking in the details. The premise of Challenges was something everyone could support: government services delivered more effectively and at less cost. Read more

Fun with data: see where Americans are moving

Posted by Jack Hoffman on June 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Comments Off on Fun with data: see where Americans are moving

Forbes Magazine has a new interactive map on its website that has been getting a certain amount of attention. The map shows all of the counties in the United States, and it’s linked to IRS migration data. Every year, the IRS tracks where people file their tax returns. Read more

2010 middle-class property tax hike

Posted by Jack Hoffman on June 24, 2010 at 8:37 am | * Comments (1)

Despite professions of heart-felt concern for Vermont property taxpayers, the Legislature raised property taxes this year on a lot of middle-income Vermonters—resident homeowners with incomes less than $90,000. Lawmakers had solid information from the Tax Department showing that Vermonters with incomes over $1 million pay about 0.5 percent of their income to support public schools, while those with incomes of $60,000 pay almost 3 percent. Read more