Why We Left; Taxed Out of Vermont
Having lived in the Burlington VT area for more than a decade, I wish I would have done my research before relocating. Yes, VT has some great draws- but the cons far out way the pros.
Property taxes are out of control. The house I bought soared from only $4.5k to more than $14.5k in a matter of years. Yes, you read that right. The winters are long and brutally cold... and you are taxed left right and center. The incredibly high costs of living and the shortage of higher paying professional jobs make it very difficult.
If you are living on a lower income, VT is great. Some of the best views in the city of Burlington are on the upper floors of apartments that are assigned affordable housing vouchers. As a young professional, it was frustrating to watch those in receipt of vouchers qualify to live in downtown apartment where they had subsidies... many of us who were middle income earners, couldnt afford the same apartments. We made too much to qualify for subsidies, but not enough to where we could swing the full payments.
Vermont has had an exodus of middle and upper income earners. That’s one of the reasons they were offering a subsidy to recruit new residents. For lower income earners, the benefits are significant; one woman I know on Section 8 had her house paid for, her fuel bill paid for, her groceries provided for, her health care paid for, even gas for her vehicle. Do I blame her for moving to VT for these benefits? Can’t say that I do.
I worked as a real estate agent in Vermont, and most of my clients were moving out of state. Sadly, many did not want to leave, but the taxes were forcing them out. All of them have built happy lives in other parts of the country, and they all said the same thing ‘If you are a professional and not qualifying for subsidies, Vermont is a very hard state.’
That being said, Vermont also has some good points. I know of several individuals who moved to the state because of the amount of money that the state spends on special needs programs -aids, special tutors etc, for children with learning difficulties. Because these benefits are paid for, it’s a huge benefit to the families who need them.
Further, the health care does provide income related subsidies. Many states did not accept the subsidies, so a person cannot qualify for a partial credit towards their health insurance, until they make a certain amount. Vermont takes the common sense approach of letting the poorest qualify for the greatest subsidies.
For a state where the service industry (historicallylower paying jobs) plays such a huge part of the employment statistics, VT does a great job of extending benefits to all. In the end, however, Vermont may discover that consistently taxing those residents who are working at higher and higher levels, may not be the best plan.
We were functionally taxed out of the state. Wilmington North Carolina gave us fantastic weather, more than twice the house for the money, a property tax bill that is less than half of VT. We can walk to downtown, the beach is 15 minutes away, there are dog parks and kiddie parks everywhere. Our downtown is fun and funky, lots of cool second hand shops, antique shops, cafes and great eats. We stayed in VT for 10 years- Wilmington is night and day. We only wish we would have known this years ago.
Samira | Wilmington, NC