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Vermont Tied as One of the ‘Least Free’ States

By Jon Street | Vermont Watchdog

FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: Vermont tied as one of the "least free" states

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE: Vermont tied as one of the “least free” states

The results are in and they’re not pretty.

Vermont is one of the “least free” states, according to a report on economic freedom in North America.

“It’s sad, but not surprising. What’s worse is we’re headed in the wrong direction,” said Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute, a Vermont-based free-market think tank.

The report looked at things like how much the government contributes to the overall state economy and workforce, levels of tax revenue, minimum wage laws and labor union density.

Generally, states that have higher taxes, enforce higher minimum wage laws and require workers to join labor unions are considered to be the “least free” states in terms of economic freedom.

The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C., ranked Vermont 13th in the country for the highest combined state and local taxes in 2010, the most recent year for which complete data are available.

Higher taxes generally mean more government involvement in economic enterprise, thus limiting the economic freedom of the private sector.

Vermont’s minimum wage of $8.60 per hour, another contributing factor for it being ranked one of the “least free” states, is higher than the national average minimum wage of $7.25, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That means employers and their employees have fewer options to negotiate wages and other employee benefits. In effect, a higher minimum wage can make it more difficult for employers to hire more workers, potentially limiting how fast a business can grow.

Vermont’s labor union laws don’t help its case for economic freedom either.

Liberal Watchdog Group Silent as Montana Democrat Walsh Faces Ethical Problems

By Dustin Hurst |

WALSH WORLD: A 2010 report revealed that Walsh used a leadership position in the National Guard for personal gain.

WALSH WORLD: A 2010 report revealed that Walsh used a leadership position in the National Guard for personal gain.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington bills itself as a government watchdog, a good-government group tasked with keeping an eye on the scoundrels in Congress.

Too bad CREW doesn’t actually do what it claims it does.

While Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Walsh, now Montana’s lieutenant governor, faces ethical problems over an Army report said he used a leadership position in the National Guard for personal gain, CREW remains eerily quiet on the matter.

Judge Ends Lawsuit by TN Man Removed From Meeting for Griping About Tax Hike

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit a Fentress County man filed against the county officials who forcibly removed him from a commission meeting after he began complaining about higher property taxes.

Officials representing Circuit Court Judge John McAfee of Tazewell wouldn’t comment on the matter, but David Beaty, who filed the lawsuit, and County Executive Frank Smith, both confirmed the outcome.

McAfee dismissed the suit late last month.

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