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

Where do you see cracks?

Posted by Sarah Lyons on June 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | * Comments (2)

Cracks in the Public Structures

Vermont is a great place to live and work and an attractive place to do business because of the investments we’ve made over the years in our public structures like parks, courts, schools, and environmental protections. Read more

Per capita, Vermonters have a lot of fun

Posted by Jack Hoffman on June 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Comments Off on Per capita, Vermonters have a lot of fun
According to the latest report from the Vermont Ski Areas Association, everybody in Vermont spent nearly a week on the slopes last winter. Or at least that’s how the information would have been cast if the subject had been taxes instead of skier visits.

The Census stopped using its state tax rankings. Why don’t we?

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm | * Comments (1)

Now that the governor is in the middle of another stand-off with the Legislature over the budget, his press office has pounced on the latest story that purports to show that Vermont’s taxes are too high. The article appears this week in Vermont Business Magazine. Read more

One budget cut the governor opposes

Posted by Paul Cillo on May 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Comments Off on One budget cut the governor opposes

The Vermont Legislature gets kudos this week for voting to postpone the increase in the domestic production deduction, an obscure federal business tax break that passes through to Vermont corporations.  Vermont’s tax structure is tied to the federal system, which is boosting this tax break by 50 percent this year.  Read more

Let’s back the Challenges promise with reserve funds

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 6, 2010 at 9:58 am | * Comments (1)

If Legislative leaders and the administration believe in Challenges for Change, the government reform plan that promises better services for less money, they should be willing to guarantee that promise with the state’s reserve funds. Many legislators are leery of Challenges because they fear the administration is more interested in cutting the budget than improving services. Read more

2011 state budget plans raise property taxes

Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm | * Comments (4)

Vermont property taxpayers will be taking it on the chin this year. Given the rhetoric they’ve been hearing all year from Montpelier, they have reason to be upset.

First, the governor repeated his (erroneous) claim that education spending was out of control, and proposed a plan he said would reduce property taxes. Read more