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To The Editor:
I read your article on the exodus of young people from The Valley with great interest.
You are casting blame in the wrong direction. Affordable housing is not in the driver's seat. Affordable housing is way down the list after many other factors are considered.
The greatest problem, and one which drives all the others, is Vermont's high tax burden. Vermonters are the highest taxed citizens in our nation, with property taxes leading the pack. Included in that problem is CNNMoney's latest survey that places Vermont at number 9 in the nation's top 10 worst states in which to start a business. Couple those two facts with a local leadership (many of whom have been elected and re-elected for more than a quarter century) with a notoriously anti-business attitude.
Anyone considering starting or moving a business to Vermont would be crazy not to consider these factors. Any business with any credibility strives to be successful and it is hard to be successful when some of the factors for success are beyond your control.
So start the reversal of the trend by concentrating on the tax burden by reducing the cost of education (consolidation of school districts and reduction of administration would be a target) and at the same time, focus on improving the business climate so that new companies will be attracted to Vermont and existing businesses will thrive. Elect state and local candidates who understand and support a balance of business-friendly attitudes and environmental concerns. Business will do well, there will be new well-paid jobs, and then you can worry about affordable housing. And, if you are really lucky, you won't need a lot of it.
Park City Utah
and N. Hero, VT