Roper: Reporter Dobbs gone to Carolina (Part 2)

By Rob Roper

Yesterday I wrote about progressive Seven Days reporter Taylor Dobbs’ decision to leave Vermont for “red” North Carolina for reasons of affordability. In doing so, I cited several things that North Carolina has done over the past decade — dramatic tax cuts and regulatory reform — that has made its economy such an attractive place for young professionals such as Dobbs, a journalist, and his wife, an educator.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Since the struggle to keep young people in Vermont is a front burner issue these days, and one for which our legislators are desperately seeking solutions (our state bond rating was recently lowered due to demographic/workforce concerns), it is also worth noting some of the things North Carolina has not done over the past decade.

For example, North Carolina does not have a $15 minimum wage. In fact, North Carolina’s minimum wage is the lowest allowable by federal law: $7.25 an hour.

Also, North Carolina does not have a public, universal preschool program. They do have a state-run pre-k program for qualified low income and at-risk kids, but it is not open to everybody.

And, North Carolina does not have a Paid Family Leave program. Though the North Carolina state House did consider a leave program in 2019, it was not taken up by the Senate.

These are all policies Vermont politicians have touted as initiatives Vermont has already adopted, wants to adopt, or says we should expand in order to attract and keep young professionals in our state. We have had universal pre-k since 2007 and are debating expanding the number of hours offered per week. We already have one of the highest state minimum wages in the nation and are debating an even higher one, and Paid Family Leave will be back on the agenda come January.

Well, none of these things kept Dobbs and his wife here in Vermont, nor did their complete absence in North Carolina deter the couple from choosing to move there. The policies were clearly non-factors in deciding where to live and work. So, maybe we in Vermont should consider the possibility that these very expensive propositions are not the answers we are seeking, and will not be effective if adopted.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Flickr/Ken Lund and Rob Roper

11 thoughts on “Roper: Reporter Dobbs gone to Carolina (Part 2)

  1. Give NC five years and liberalism will have made inroads. What part of NC did he move to?

    • Best he made the right (Left) choice. The Carolina conservatives I knew know how to deal with the dogbiskit types. cAny luck, it was Charlottesville.

  2. So, nobody makes money, kids can’t attend school and parents get no leave to be with their babies. Yeah, sounds great. Yay NC?! Um, no!

    • Biskit, I took my family of 5 and left VT and life has never been better. My wallet thanks me every morning. I can afford to do things that I could only dream of in VT. Not to mention I now get better then 3 months of summer. I don’t shovel snow and my trash/recycling is picked up at the end of my driveway at no additional cost. The South East has been nothing but a boon for my family. There is a reason that my state had an influx of over 50,000 people last year. Nearly 10% of the population of VT. There is a reason that VT is the OLDEST state in the nation.

      You haven’t lived in VT long enough. I first moved there in 93, my wife was born there. Now the rest of her family want out once they saw the savings we incurred . Sooner or later you will get it, for the sake of your family hopefully it’s sooner as Mr. Dobbs and his family figured out. I will save over $84,000 over ten years JUST in property taxes alone.

      • R. Jorgensen, thank you for your respectful reply. I appreciate hearing your experiences. I grew up in Florida where nobody makes any money and things are inexpensive because they’re CHEAP! You get what you pay for. I don’t mind higher prices here in VT because things are nicer. I wish you and your family all the best. I hope you enjoy much happiness.

        • I don’t live in FL. I certainly agree with you. You get what you pay for. Vermont, you will soon learn is the complete opposite of FL. You pay for everything and get nothing. I certainly have zero problem paying taxes. I fully understand they’re a function of society. However Vermont provides little to no value for your tax dollars. I paid over 5k for a home value of $275k for what?

          Mediocre schools.
          Pretty much zero public service other then road plowing etc.

          Then on top of that I i had 70% of the population that voted on school budgets with my subsidy dollars. They had little skin in the game. If your poor VT is great. If your middle class you take it in the chin. I was tired of taking it on the chin and the VT nea running the show. It was just a matter of cutting the strings.

          Best of luck. The reality is everyone in VT will need it.

          • R. Jorgensen, So far Vermont has been much better for my husband and I in terms of affordable housing in a good neighborhood, my husband is making much better money, healthcare is fantastic and it’s a much safer place than where I come from. I see things getting done in my city. Perhaps I am just used to something much worse but overall, I wish us all luck in this country!

    • Biskit, a $12 per hour job is better than NO JOB, kids do “attend school” we pay more for our schools and get worse results. If you are going to have a baby, plan ahead do you can take time off to spend with your child, your decision to have children is yours, the little old lady struggling to pay her taxes should not be responsible for your decision

  3. Fist off Vermont is ” not ” Business-Friendly, on the other hand, North Carolina is very
    business-friendly. Vermont’s heavy tax burden doesn’t help either !!

    Vermont as I knew it as a kid, is gone. Being born in the fifties growing up, we had tons
    of business in Vermont, Burlington had tons of industries big & small jobs were very
    plentiful some good some bad, but you had a chance to better yourself. What do you
    have today ??

    Then came the Liberal mindset and all the restrictions thereof, as you see today no business
    want to endure this foolishness, and then Montpelier cannot figure out why the young generation
    wants to live in a business ” friendly ” low taxed state.

    Friends I know have moved to Tennessee, very senior-friendly no tax on retirements or
    social security, military retirements. Property taxes on a $170k house is around $700 a year
    compared to VT’s $5,000 for the same money ……. And Montpelier can’t figure it out !!!

    Vote them out………………..

    • “Vote them out………………..”
      I think it was yourself who previously had noted the need for strong, bright opposition candidates with the resources to run. Like the R.E. guy from Manchester.

      The fact I can’t immediately recall his name is indicative of more than advancing Alzheimer’s; these guys/women need to get in the public eye right now and build name recognition.

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