Roper: Business group wants 802,000 Vermonters by 2035

There’s their hat. Where’s their cattle?

The Vermont Futures Project (VFP), a spinoff of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, is conducting a statewide tour of what they call “community conversations, and … strategic stakeholder visits in all fourteen counties” to gather input for their 2024 Economic Plan for Vermont. (Side Note: I didn’t think I could loath the term “stakeholder” any more that I do. It’s a nauseating euphemism for “special interest” used by special interests. But “strategic stakeholder” takes the prize.) The prime objective of the VFP is to increase Vermont’s population from where it is now at 645,000 to 820,000 by 2035.

Are they serious?

I don’t say that to mock the objective, I am seriously asking if these people are serious about achieving such a goal. And, after looking through VFP’s recent presentations, videos, and press releases, sadly my conclusion is NO, they are not serious. They are not serious because they are unwilling to identify and call out the root problem causing Vermont’s decades-long economic and population stagnation, which is our radical leftist political establishment and the policies they are putting into practice.

VFP boasts that it is data driven. “How can we use data to support the evolution of Vermont’s economy toward a thriving future full of opportunity for all?” they ask. Well, as I have previously written (See: Vermont’s Legislature Is Blowing Big Bucks on Failed Experiments), there is plenty of data pointing to the fact that the states that are gaining the most population such as Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, and Tennessee are Red States implementing low tax, entrepreneurially friendly policies that give their citizens more freedom to make their own decisions.

The data also shows that the states losing the most population, such as California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, are Blue States that are raising taxes, driving up the cost of day to day living with expensive, nanny state regulations, and micromanaging every aspect of their citizens’ lives from telling them what kind of bags they’re allowed to use in the grocery store, to banning the kinds of vehicles they like to drive. These are states that look an awful lot like Vermont.

So, if you are truly data driven, VFP, and are truly committed to increasing Vermont’s population with an eye toward building a healthy growing economy, how about pointing that out. Loudly.Beyond the data, use your common sense.

VFP rightly notes that the biggest obstacle to population growth is a severe lack of any, let alone affordable, housing. If you can’t find or afford a place to live in a state, odds are you’re not going to live in it. So, what political party’s policies are making it difficult and expensive to build housing in Vermont? Hmmm….

Moreover, productive workers in their prime earning years are simply not going to choose to pay some of the highest property taxes in the country (on the property they can’t afford in the first place) when other states deliver more municipal services for a fraction of the cost. If they’re choosing between a state with a high income tax plus a new payroll tax on their earnings versus one with low income tax rates an no payroll tax, which one do you think they’re going to pick? A state that bans the kind of vehicle you need to do your job, or one that doesn’t? A state that forces you to register and pay a fee to engage in your livelihood versus one that has no such requirement? One with abnormally high health insurance costs versus one with more affordable options? The list goes on and on.

So, instead of pussyfooting around the countryside saying stuff like, “I am looking at the Vermont Climate Action Plan, and seeing a bit of language that really stands out to me, which is Vermont needs to prioritize helping the people who will be most affected by climate change,” per Kevin Chu, VFP’s executive director (Seriously, BARF!), how about an aggressive campaign explaining that no young (or any age for that matter) worker is going to choose to migrate to state that has no affordable housing due primarily to that very climate change oriented governing philosophy and document you just cited.

I understand and to some degree sympathize with members of the Vermont business community’s timidity in this regard. The Democrat/Progressive ruling class is vindictive, and they do at present control the game. The folks behind VFP have some very nice businesses and it would be a shame if something were to, you know, happen to them. But at some point, if you want the bully to stop taking your lunch money, you’ve got to punch him in the nose.

VPF’s website says the next stops on its statewide info-gathering tour will be in Windsor County on September 13, and Caledonia County on September 21. Weirdly, they don’t say where or what time. But should that information ever come to light, I encourage BTL readers to show up and give them an earful. In the meantime, they are asking for input via this survey. Take a minute to look at it and fill it out. Something along the lines of “time to grow a pair.”

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary

24 replies »

  1. What we need are more Conservatives moving TO Vermont, not abandoning ship. We need to stay and fight, not cut and run.

    • So are you say maybe that the money being spent to bring people here from out of state might be better utilized trying to convince young Vermonters to stay here ? Humm…

  2. The price of a piece of 2 x 6 x 8 #2 pressure treated lumber at a Home Depot in deep blue Vermont? $7.28. The price of a piece of 2 x 6 x 8 #2 pressure treated lumber at a Home Depot in deep red Iowa? $7.78. The blues must be slipping.

    • If your major concern is the purported disparity between the price of a piece of pressure-treated lumber at a random Home Depot in Iowa and a random Home Depot in VT — as opposed to the stark & terrifying reality that many members of your beloved Democrat Party ought to be being tried for treason against the USA for their passage of unconstitutional laws and their advancement of Communism in this state — you must lead a charmed life, Searles.

      Then again, most residents in Woodstock, VT do.

      Weak, Searles. Seriously weak.

    • Dave, it’s not the price of lumber, its the cost of permitting and the environmental regulations that come with trying to develop housing. It will only get worse when the Climate Action Plan requirements for all construction to be Net Zero kick in.

  3. First, is it 802,000 residents or 820,000 residents ? (typos happen) Either way it seems to me that growing the state  by between 1/4 and 1/3 in population is going to have a negative effect on the state environmentally. You can only increase the population  by encroaching on wild spaces, or by putting more people in urban areas. So do we want the environment compromised, or do we want more residents ? As I look at the graph I can not help but notice the population increase from the mid 60s until the present. This steep increase was not realized solely by Vermonters procreating, I’d be willing to bet that a very high percentage of this increase was due to immigration from other states, and given the results both environmentally and politically do we want to make this worse ? What new and improved ideas will be foisted upon us by yet another surge of ……… ?

    • 802! Thanks for catching that! Can’t believe I made that typo as I was considering a headline based on 802 for 802, but thought in the end it was too obscure. – R

  4. They’re really going to scrape the bottom of the barrel, too, and they’re already starting with the nice folks from places like Springfield, Mass. I can tell you that for the first time in my life, I’ve been considering leaving, for that reason and the others mentioned above. It’s the leftists, stupid.

    • Absolutely S.Lowry! These are NOT going to be out-of-staters with established professions or average Americans seeking greener pastures – they are going to be, as many are now, the gangsta’s & thugs who seek “progressive” states in order to escape prosecution for crimes. They will be “migrants” pulled from dozens of countries of vastly disparate cultural & socio-economic backgrounds in order to “force diversity”. They of course will be illegal immigrants from all around the globe with absolutely no means of financially supporting themselves & are reliant upon the democrat’s assurance that everything in Amerika is “free”!

      Patrick, I would argue that your fear of folks from places such as Brookville, L.I. or Glenview, Kentucky be permanently supplanted by those who pose, by far, the greatest threats here – and the greatest menace won’t be some fervent animal lover, but illegal foreigners and dangerous criminals determined to completely dismantle & destroy our Constitutional Republic. And yes, many of those are already running amuck here in VT thanks specifically to the Dems and Progs who themselves are foreigners. To the US Constitution, and to its history as a Republic endowed with freedoms through the will of God.

      Out of Many, One. And through only legal, primarily merit-based immigration should the US population increase.

  5. Just a side antidote… got word that a friend is selling her ancestral home in Burlington and moving to Texas. Folks are escaping our failed progressive paradise. What’s that tell you?

  6. Start to finish:
    Land grab to sequester Vermont as the playground for the elite 99%.
    By those very stakeholder stock holders, and political interests.
    We been bought beauties… the snakeoil salesman saw us comin’ and laid the trap…
    climate change my ass…

    • It’s been headed that way for 60+ years. It really gained momentum with the completion of the Interstate system and it doubled down when the Interweb got perfected. Don’t worry they’ll keep enough of us regular folks around to keep things running

  7. Demoprogs have made it expensive to build affordable housing with private sector money so they can be the ones to decide who gets to live where. They want to dole out housing like they dole out all other benefits from the social cornucopia. Those who predominantly live in the subsidized units are not people/families who tend to contribute to society. It’s all set up to maximize dependency. It’s not complicated…just part of the marxist master plan.

  8. Regulations, taxes and my/your ability to delay any project long enough to kill the economic value are enough alone. Keep them coming Rob.

    • They will replace the population with migrants. The United Nations put out a document in 2000 about migration being a solution to aging and declining populations. Many nations are facing population control llapse due to declining birth rates. This includes the US. The document is easy to locate if searched on the Internet. Read the UN sustainable development goal relative to migration. The UN states that one of the global issues this goal addresses is replacing population due to aging populations. Then read the Kissinger Report. The UN is all about population control. The Kissinger Report has been declassified and is searchable in the internet. This is why there is a goal around educating women. Educated women make my net and have less children.

  9. For many years now, many employers, large and small, complain there are few qualified applicants to fill positions. They resort to head hunters out of state and have to pony up incentives to get people to move here. Phil Scott handed out $10K to incentivize out of staters to move here. What did we get? Community organizer activists and non-profiteer programmed serfs. Failed policies of the leadership and all the business executives who supported these fools sitting in office before and now. The only way to fix the problem with Vermont is to watch it implode into it’s own cellar hole, the despots and their programmed serfs pack up and get out, or be delivered back to the abyss from which they came. No one with any notable common sense brain function is going to move here now. It’s over – we’re just waiting out the final descent into Mad Max and hopefully, mass arrests of every freak of misery responsible for this mess. Once that passes, we may actually start to get something worthwhile accomplished.