At his press conference on Wednesday, April 12, some of the very first words out of Governor Phil Scott's mouth were this:
"As you know, over the last few weeks I’ve been pretty critical of the direction the Legislature seems to be heading."
"And to be clear, I’m still very concerned with the budget in particular, as well as other initiatives with big price tags, even though I’ve proposed a path to achieving those goals over time without hurting the very people we’re trying to help."
A study conducted by the American Legislative Exchange Counsel ranked Vermont 49th out of 50 when it comes to economic outlook and 41st out of 50 in economic performance.
"The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process. Generally speaking, states that spend less — especially on income transfer programs — and states that tax less — particularly on productive activities such as working or investing — experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more," according to the report's description.
"The Economic Performance Ranking is a backward-looking measure based on a state’s performance on three important variables: State Gross Domestic Product, Absolute Domestic Migration and Non-Farm Payroll Employment — all of which are highly influenced by state policy. This ranking details states’ individual performances over the past 10 years based on this economic data."
Vermont's property tax burden, personal income tax progressivity, legislated tax changes and estate taxes all contributed to poor rankings.
According to a report from KPVI:
"The report showed Vermont scored 49 for the Economic Outlook Rank, which considers the top marginal personal income tax rate of 8.75%, ranked 42nd; maximum marginal corporate income tax at 8.5% for 40th; and personal income tax progressivity at $28.35, which ranked 48th."
"Vermont’s $49.46 per $1,000 of personal income gave the state a 49th ranking in the report, while the sales tax burden of $12.06 ranked the state sixth overall. The state ranked 47th in the remaining tax burden of $25.69 per $1,000 of personal income and was ranked dead last in estate and inheritance tax."
With a proposed payroll tax to fund a new family leave policy, and proposed elevated fees on DMV permits and registrations, the economic outlook appears unlikely to improve any time soon.